By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippines and South Korea are expected to forge cooperative agreements on education, fisheries, social security and tourism next week, according to South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man.
The agreements seeking to enhance bilateral relations will be sealed following the meeting between President Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the sidelines of a regional summit, the ambassador said.
President Duterte is expected to visit Busan, South Korea to attend the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Korea commemorative summit from November 25 to 26.
“This is the second meeting between President Moon Jae-in and President Duterte following President Duterte’s [visit] to Seoul. They will discuss many issues affecting our bilateral relationship,” Ambassador Han said during the “Virtual Presser” organized by Presidential Communications Operations Office-Office of Global Media Affairs in Malacañang.
“We have MOU (memorandum of understanding) signing regarding education cooperation, social security, and also cooperation on fisheries and tourism implementation,” said the ambassador, a day after paying a courtesy call on the President at the Palace.
On proposed social security accord, Han said Filipinos working in Korea can obtain social security benefits. At present, there are 70,000 Filipinos working and living in South Korea.
The education cooperation pact includes the expansion of facilities teaching Korean language to Filipinos as well as exchange student program while the fisheries accord will involve bilateral cooperation in the development of fisheries industry using modern technology.
On the tourism agreement, he said both countries plan to enhance tourist arrivals and help develop more tourism sites in the Philippines.
More than 500,000 Filipinos have visited South Korea this year, up from 450,000 last year.
Koreans, on the other hand, remained the top foreign visitors to the country. At least 1.6 million Koreans visited the Philippines last year, according to the Ambassador.
The ambassador said the two leaders are also expected to discuss efforts to further enhance economic and defense cooperation, and people-to-people exchange during their meeting.
He said they will also tackle how to increase the trade volume, citing the imminent conclusion of a free trade pact between the two countries.
Trade between South Korea and the Philippines reached to USD15.6 billion in 2018, up by 9.3 percent compared to the previous year.