By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has reaffirmed the Philippine government’s desire to deepen economic ties with South Korea, which recently unveiled plans to pivot towards the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and expand its assistance to countries in the region.
In a meeting held recently with officials of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Dominguez also thanked South Korea for supporting the Philippines’ efforts to enhance the use of digital technology in improving tax administration through its support for the electronic invoicing and receipts system of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).
“We want to express how appreciative we are of the assistance we are receiving from the Korean people through the Korean government. I hope that we can expand our cooperation at this time and for the coming future,” Dominguez told the South Korean delegation led by KOICA President Lee Mikyung.
Lee said that with South Korea’s assistance to ASEAN in 2017 almost tripling by 2022, the Philippines can also expect the volume of support from his country to also increase during that period.
He said Korea expects “more close and deepened cooperation” with the Philippines especially as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.
On behalf of the Philippine government, Dominguez also thanked South Korea for “more than doubling” its assistance to the ASEAN by 2022 and for supporting the region’s inclusive development initiatives.
Dominguez also expressed the Philippines’ appreciation of South Korea’s support for the peace-building efforts in Mindanao.
In light of South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s policy centered on “the three Ps—people, peace and prosperity,” and his recognition of the strategic importance of ASEAN in the global economy, Lee said his government has pursued several initiatives on education, information and communications technology (ICT), and inclusive development, among other programs, that the Philippines could tap to help achieve its goal of economic inclusion for all Filipinos.
These include the ASEAN Higher Education Initiative, which involve the exchange of college students between South Korea and the Philippines, and South Korea’s highly developed ICT programs to assist the Philippines in enhancing transparency in governance and reforming its tax system.
Lee said that since President Duterte assumed office, the Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) both played pivotal roles in the Philippines’ economic development and poverty reduction efforts. “I am also happy to see that you are making progress and achievements in these areas,” Lee said.