By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 18 July 2019. The celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Korea also highlights the important role played by the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) during the Korean War. To date, the friendship forged between the Philippine veterans and the Koreans remains strong and continues to flourish.

Amb. & Mrs. Noe A. Wong (center) and Embassy officials with the descendants of Filipino veterans of the Korea War
On 25 June 2019, Ambassador Noe A. Wong hosted a dinner for twelve (12) descendants of Korean War veterans from the Philippines who were invited to Seoul by the Korea Freedom Federation Philippines (KFFP), a Korean nonprofit organization. The KFFP initiated a program in which descendants of Filipino Korean War veterans are invited to visit Seoul and its historical and cultural sites. This KFFP program serves as an expression of appreciation for the sacrifices of the Filipino veterans of the Korean War. Twelve descendants of Korean War veterans from the Philippines, ranging from the ages of 18 to 27, participated in the KFFP program. In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Wong expressed his appreciation to KFFP for its initiative to sustain the friendly relations between the Philippines and ROK. In reply, Mr. Lee Kyung Soo, President of KFFP stated his desire to continue honoring the services and memories of the PEFTOK veterans through their descendants.

The Embassy also received a delegation composed of PEFTOK veterans and their families headed by Department of National Defense (DND) Undersecretary Ernesto G. Carolina on 1 July 2019. The visit of the PEFTOK veterans and their families was organized by a Korean nonprofit organization, Korea and Her Neighbors (KHN), in celebration of the 70th Anniversary of Philippines-Korea Diplomatic Relations. The KHN initiative hopes to create awareness among the young Korean generation about the Filipino veterans' role in Korean modern history. In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Noe A. Wong spoke about meeting Koreans who often talked about the help they received from Filipino soldiers during the Korean War and how grateful they are to them. Undersecretary Carolina then delivered his brief remarks on behalf of the veterans and presented Ambassador Wong with the book Filipinos In The Korean War by Cesar P. Pobre.

The Korean War began on 25 June 1950.The Philippines was the first Asian country to respond to the call by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), then headed by General Carlos P. Romulo, to send combat troops in the defense of South Korea from the invasion of the North. PEFTOK was composed of 7,420 soldiers and their bravery and combat proficiency stood out especially during the Battle of Yuldong and the Battle of Eerie Hill. PEFTOK casualties included 116 Killed in Action, 299 Wounded in Action, 57 Missing in Action and 41 Repatriated Prisoners of War. END