By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, SEOUL

09 October 2021, Seoul. The Philippine Embassy in Korea and seventy-three (73) Filipino Community Leaders engaged in an interactive and meaningful dialogue on consular, labor, and other important developments concerning Filipino residents in Korea during the 2021 Leaders' Forum today.

Ambassador-designate Ma. Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, together with the officers of the Embassy and the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO-OWWA) met with the FilCom leaders who represent over 49,000 Filipino overseas workers of various professions, students, married migrants, and faith communities in Korea. The discussion provided updates on consular services, overseas absentee voting registration, OWWA assistance during the pandemic, the new POEA e-Registration system for OFWs, POLO validation of vaccination records for Filipinos coming from Korea, and scheduled activities for the remaining months of the year. Special guests from Seoul Yongsan Police Station also presented COVID-related protection measures for foreign residents and information on prevention of general crimes.

In her message, Ambassador de Vega commended the leaders for their remarkable resiliency and untiring service to the Filipino communities since the pandemic started. She said that the leaders not only bridged communication and coordination between the Embassy and the community but likewise actively mobilized support for our kababayans in Korea in the true spirit of bayanihan, enabling the latter to access the various information, assistance and COVID-related services such as free testing and vaccination. The Ambassador-designate related her activities since she assumed post nearly (2) months ago, and shared with the leaders ongoing efforts towards facilitating the resumption of entry of Filipinos to Korea which continues to affect many EPS workers and students. She shared her commitment to further deepen the Embassy's relations with the FilCom and to continuously provide responsive programs and services for them. She enjoined the leaders to support the Embassy's future plans and projects such as the conduct of "Know Your Rights" information series, setting up a Marshalls Network among the leaders, and capacity-building sessions for the FilCom groups and organizations. She likewise reiterated that ongoing Flagship projects like the PEAKPinoy Series will continue to be held.

The open forum provided an important opportunity to discuss in a frank and constructive way the various concerns of the community which were conveyed through their leaders. Ambassador-designate de Vega welcomed their recommendations and assured them of ongoing efforts and steps to address these.

Speaking on behalf of the Forum participants, Ms. Mercy Hachero, President of the United Filipinos in Korea (UFILKOR) shared the experiences and insights of Filipinos in Korea, especially during the pandemic. She affirmed the collective support and cooperation of the community in strengthening the friendly relations between the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, and in promoting the welfare of Filipino nationals under the new leadership of the Ambassador-designate.

As the forum closed, special prizes were announced for lucky attendees and the Ambassador enjoined the participation of the FilCom leaders in upcoming events like the year-end Paskong Pinoy sa Korea. -END-