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Aquino, South Korean president discuss OFWs, AFP modernization

/ 04:33 PM November 18, 2015
South Korean President Park Geun-Hye delivers a speech during a joint opening ceremony for South Korea-France economic and academic forums at a hotel in Seoul on November 4, 2015. French President Francois Hollande began a one-day visit to South Korea on November 4, looking for new investments and to secure a useful ally in forging a global climate change deal in Paris next month. AFP PHOTO / POOL / JUNG YEON-JE

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye delivers a speech during a joint opening ceremony for South Korea-France economic and academic forums at a hotel in Seoul on Nov. 4, 2015. Park arrived in Manila, Philippines, on Nov. 17 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. AFP

President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye and pitched, among other things, better benefits for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“[President Aquino] said he hoped KOR will positively consider proposed amendments to the Social Security Agreement so that it may be finally concluded to enable our peoples to fully maximize its benefits,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told media.

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In the past, OFW groups complained of the two countries’ agreement between Korea’s National Pension System and the local Social Security System. Reports said the agreement did not allow OFWs to refund their NPS contributions.

Aquino and Park met at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza around noon for a closed-door bilateral meeting.

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“[Park] advocated greater bilateral cooperation in projects in medicine, medical technology, tele-medicine, and public health; also in transportation and infrastructure development. She said Korea was also keen on improving social security program involving citizens of both countries.”

For his part, Aquino assured the Korean leader that the government would ensure the safety and protection of all foreign nationals, including more than a million Korean citizens.

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Coloma said Aquino thanked South Korea for its support for the following projects: The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose, Laguindingan Airport air navigation system and support facilities, and Samar Pacific coastal road project.

He further encouraged Korean companies to “invest in shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, food production, food processing and agribusiness, electronics, energy and renewable energy, finance and banking, infrastructure and PPP (public private partnership) projects.”

“We are pleased with the robust logistics corporation between our two countries, as manifested by PH acquisition of various defense materiel, most notably the FA-50 aircraft. We appreciate Korea’s donation of a patrol combat corvette, a landing craft utility, and 16 rubber boats to improve our military’s humanitarian assistance & disaster response capabilities,” Aquino was quoted as saying.

Park said she hoped more South Korean companies would support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Modernization Program.

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She pointed out that the partnership of the two countries had allowed the Philippines to become the fourth largest shipbuilding country, “a good reference and take off point for expanded trade, investment and economic cooperation” between the two countries.

“Every year, more than 2,000 Korean-Filipino multicultural families are formed and the Korean government fully supports this as a gesture of the deepening of people to people ties,” Coloma said. RC

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TAGS: AFP modernization, Apec 2015, Benigno Aquino III, ofws, Park Geun-hye
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