BUSAN, 20 March 2017 – The Philippine Embassy in South Korea successfully conducted its two-day consular outreach mission on 17 and 18 March 2017 in the city of Busan, the second largest city in South Korea after Seoul.
The consular mission, the first for the year, was conducted at the Philippine Consulate General located in the city’s north central Gumjeong District in coordination with the Philippine Honorary Consul General, Dr. An Sang-wook with the assistance of Filipino Association in Gimhae Korea (FASIGKO) members, Mmes. Ruby C. Alano and Erika B. Kang.
The seven-member consular team, which was led by First Secretary and Consul General Roderico C. Atienza, attended to 300 cases of passport applications, civil registration, notarization, travel documents, NBI clearances, and certification during the two-day outreach mission.
The Embassy was also able to provide overseas voting registration services to Filipino nationals based in Busan and outlying areas.
Busan, which is 325 kilometers south of Seoul, is home to 2,134 Filipinos. Apart from the community in Busan, Filipinos living in nearby Gimhae, Ulsan and Geoje also took advantage of the visiting mobile service.
SEOUL, 23 March 2017 – Philippine Ambassador to South Korea Raul S. Hernandez hosted on 23 March 2017 a forum and dinner reception at his official residence for over 60 Filipino women as well as the female officers, staff members, and Korean employees of the Embassy in celebration of this year’s National Women’s Month in Seoul.
The event featured two notable Korean personalities: Ms. Sohn Jie-Ae, a visiting professor at Ewha Womans University, former CEO of Arirang TV and Radio, and CNN correspondent, and Ms. Jasmine Lee, the first Filipino woman and naturalized South Korean to win a seat at the National Assembly of South Korea.
The event also served as a venue for the Embassy to introduce Ms. Sandara Park, an A-list K-pop artist who started her showbiz career in the Philippines, as its Friendship Ambassador to the female members of the Filipino Community in the country.
Under this year’s theme, “We Make Change Work for Women,” the discussions centered on the role of women in galvanizing change in an otherwise traditionally male-dominated society. The two guest speakers also candidly shared their experiences on balancing family life and career, as well as the roles they fulfill as drivers of social transformation.
Ambassador Hernandez highlighted the positive and central role of women in social development, maintaining that gender equality is crucial and essential for nation building. He also encouraged the female participants to not allow themselves to be left behind but instead take an active role in bringing about positive change through meaningful engagements.
The Ambassador also underscored in his welcome remarks the great strides which the Philippines has been making in recent years in terms of narrowing gender gaps, as supported by data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report in 2016 where the Philippines ranked 7th out of 144 countries surveyed.
After the formal program, the female participants were treated to a musical performance by Ms. Angie Karen Natividad, a Filipino singer who has been making waves in the Filipino music scene in Korea. The dinner reception featured popular Filipino dishes such as kare-kare, chopsuey, pork and chicken barbecue, pansit, and purple yam and coconut ice cream.
FARM, FISHERIES FORUM FOR FILCOM ENTREPRENEURS HELD IN BUSAN
BUSAN, 19 February 2017 – The Embassy fo the Philippines held on Sunday, 19 February 2017 a daylong investment forum for prospective entrepreneurs in the farming and fisheries sector at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) in Korea’s second biggest city for the first time this year.
The Agri-Fisheries Investment Forum, which was organized by the Philippine Agriculture Office (PAO) in Seoul, together with the Philippine Overseas labor Office (POLO) and Land Bank of the Philippines, featured specialists mainly from agencies affiliated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) before an audience of 150 Filipino residents.
Philippine Honorary Consul General in Busan Dr. Sang-wook An, representing Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez, delivered opening remarks and emphasized the necessity to promote OFWs entrepreneurial undertakings responsive to their need as part of the reintegration program of the government.
The fourth such forum in a series that starte last year follows the success of the AgriForum held on 11 December 2016 in Seoul in providing information to overseas Filipinos looking to invest their earnings in Korea into the country’s agricultural and fisheries sector as a way of facilitating their eventual return to the Philippines.
The speakers from the DA, Philippine Carabao Center, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic resources, who were led by Administrator Billy Andal of the Philippine Coconut Authority, made presentations about livestock raising, high value crops, aquaculture and coconut production, agri-related business and investment opportunities, among others, said Agriculture Analyst Aleli Maghirang.
Landbank presented financing facilities to participants interested in investing in the projects offered during the seminar.
Organizing agribusiness investment forums for overseas Filipino workers is one of the Embassy’s priority activities supportive of DA’s goal of giving farmers, fishing communities and other agriculture and fisheries stakeholders easy access to financing and investment opportunities.
PH, ROK FARM MINISTERS DISCUSS AGRI-TRADE, MARKET ACCESS ISSUES
SEOUL, 21 February 2017 – The agriculture ministers of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea met in Seoul on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 to discuss a number of pending concerns between the two countries, including trade in agricultural goods, market access, and bilateral technical cooperation.
The meeting of Philippine Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol and Minister Kim Jae-soo of the Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), took place at the President Hotel in downtown Seoul. Joining the Philippine delegation were Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez, Assistant Secretary for Regulations and Visayas Atty Hansel Didulo, Agriculture Analyst in Seoul Ms. Aleli Maghirang and Head Executive Assistant Mr Ferdinand Piñol.
Secretary Piñol flagged the Philippines’ interest to negotiate the lowering of Korean tariffs for fresh tropical fruits from the Philippines, especially banana. Despite ongoing challenges, the Philippines remains the biggest source and preferred supplier of bananas for the Korean market.
Ecuador and other South American banana-producing countries are competing with the Philippines by negotiating or concluding free trade agreements with Korea.
MAFRA Minister Kim also said that they will consider the accreditation of non-traditional Philippine exports like yellow corn, okra and avocados. He said these products must be of good quality and priced competitively to be able to gain access to the South Korean market.
Aside from crops, Secretary Piñol also requested for the MAFRA to facilitate the ongoing Import Risk Analysis for the Philippine egg and dressed duck exports to South Korea. Following the outbreak of new strains of avian influenza, the South Korean government ordered the culling of about 30 million chicken causing a shortage in the supply of eggs, chicken and ducks.
The MAFRA Minister also asked that the entry into the Philippines of South Korean strawberries be allowed as there is huge demand for it from its nationals living in the Philippines.
To further enhance bilateral cooperation, the Department of Agriculture (DA) proposed for the very first PH-ROK MOU on Agriculture with MAFRA.
Secretary Piñol also met with Chairman Kim Byeong-won and officials of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (Nonghyup-NACF), who affirmed their intention to collaborate with the Philippines on strengthening farmers’ cooperatives and improving extension of support to farmers and fishermen.
Secretary Piñol also met with DOLE Asia Ltd and DOLE Korea to discuss some concerns about the Korean market, as well investment opportunities for DOLE'S expansion of production base in Mindanao, and the need for the government to negotiate for lowering the tariffs to maintain competitiveness of the Philippine farm sector.
He concluded his official visit in Seoul with a call on Ambassador Hernandez at the Philippine Embassy, a brief meet-and-greet with officers and staff at the Embassy’s Rizal Hall and the first visit ever by a sitting agriculture secretary to the Philippine Agriculture Office (PAO) since its establishment in January 2016.
Secretary Piñol’s visit underscores the Philippines’ seriousness to engage and strengthen its bilateral relations with Korea, which is one of the leading food importers in the world. As such it posts great potential for Philippines' new exports of feeds (yellow corn and silage), eggs and duck meat, calamondin (calamansi), pomelo, avocado and other tropical fruits, and natural healthy foods.
Korea's successful experiences in modernizing its agriculture and rural sector and technological breakthroughs and direct farm credit programs pose great opportunity for our Filipino agriculture stakeholders to learn from.
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