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Filipino woman runs for seat on South Korean parliament


MANILA, Philippines—The Filipino community in South Korea is rallying behind the candidacy of a Filipino woman who is running for a parliament seat in the East Asian country, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Saturday.

Binay said he hopes Jasmine Lee, a Filipino married to a Korean national, would have a strong showing in the race as it “gives hope not only for Filipinos but for all migrants and immigrants.”

“We are all very proud that a full-blooded Filipino is being given the opportunity to be a member of the Korean Parliament. It shows that Korea is prepared to extend the opportunity to become a public servant even to those who were not born there,” the vice president said in a statement.

Binay said if elected, Lee “will be an advocate not only of Filipino workers’ rights, but the rights of all migrants in South Korea.”

Lee is a popular television host, and heads the Global Resource Center (GRC) in the South Korean capital Seoul. GRC is a  non-governmental organization serving as a support group for foreign wives of Koreans.

She became a naturalized Korean in 1998, three years after she married Lee Dongho, and moved to South Korea.

The ruling Saenuri (New Frontier) Party included her on the list of 46 candidates for seats in the unicameral National Assembly which are allocated for proportional representation and would be filled up in an election on April 11.

Saenuri is chaired by assemblywoman Park Geun-hye, daughter of the late Korean president Park Chung-hee.

Lee, who met Binay during his visit to South Korea last week, joined Binay in his dialogue with the members of the Filipino community held at the Philippine Embassy. She relayed the concerns raised by the overseas Filipino workers, among them the plight of “stateless children,” or children born to migrant parents who are not recognized by the host countries.

“What we can do is to appeal to the host governments to recognize these children. But the problem is not only confined to South Korea but in other countries, especially in the Middle East where there are an estimate 6,000 of them,” Binay said.

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Tags: Elections , Politics , South Korea

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