By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 24 June 2020. The Philippine Embassy participated in the 2020 Employment Permit System (EPS) Conference in Tongyeong, South Korea from 17 to 18 June 2020. The EPS Conference is an annual event hosted by the Human Resources Development Service of Korea (HRDK) for mutual exchange and cooperation between Korea and the sixteen EPS sending countries. Korea's EPS allows certain employers to legally hire an adequate number of foreign workers.

Philippine Embassy in Seoul Charge d'Affaires Christian L. de Jesus with HRDK President King Dong-Man, the Heads of Embassies of the 16 sending countries, and HRDK officials.
Charge d'A?Affaires, a.i. Christian L. de Jesus led the Philippine Embassy delegation and was joined by Labor Attache Ma. Celeste M. Valderrama of POLO Korea, together with Interpreter Hyo Sun Kim. CDA de Jesus remarked that this year's EPS Conference was timely as countries around the world are facing immense challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. "In recent months, we have seen how the pandemic affected the lives and employment of our people in unprecedented ways, and so we welcome this opportunity to share our thoughts on the pressing concerns of our EPS workers and to collaborate with the HRDK and sending countries in finding strategic solutions," he said.

The EPS Conference was chaired by HRDK President Kim Dong-Man, and participated in by its senior officers in charge of foreign workers employment. Together with the Heads of the Embassies and Labor Attaches of the sixteen (16) sending countries, the conference generated views and suggestions to address the priority concerns such as the mandatory quarantine regulations upon arrival of EPS workers, the sojourn status of workers who are either unable to leave the sending country or Korea due to lockdown or unavailability of flights, and other employment issues.

In his concluding message, President Kim said that the HRDK will seriously consider and evaluate the recommendations presented by the Embassy Heads. "We will work on these concerns with the Ministry of Employment and Labor and the Ministry of Justice. We will also visit you in your respective Embassies to discuss the specific measures that can be jointly implemented for the welfare of workers. As a former advocate on immigrant labor, I can understand the concerns of the EPS workers and I am committed to act on these," he added.

During the conference, HRDK signed an MOU with the Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd. and Gyeongsangnam-do to open opportunities in support of the in-country settlement of EPS workers and future cooperation on industry exposures.

CDA de Jesus highlighted the remarkable leadership of the Republic of Korea not only in ensuring a prompt and systematic response to the global spread of COVID-19, but also in protecting both its nationals and foreign residents in the country from the coronavirus.

"The Philippines affirms its commitment to cooperate with Korea in the continued implementation of the EPS and in jointly addressing priority issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic," CDA de Jesus concluded. END

24 June 2020