By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, SEOUL

20 June 2022, Seoul. The Philippine Embassy with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office ? OWWA in Seoul hosted the 2nd Filipino Community Leaders Forum for 2022 in commemoration of the 124th anniversary of the Philippine Independence and the 27th Migrant Workers Day. The event was the first face-to-face meeting in over two years of the Filipino community leaders in South Korea representing sixty (65) Filipino organizations/associations.

In her inspirational message, Ambassador Theresa Dizon ? De Vega recalled the sacrifices and heroism of the forebears of the nation, and enjoined everyone to recognize the enduring contribution to nation-building of the overseas Filipinos, the country's modern-day heroes, who consistently demonstrated resilience and sacrifices during the recent pandemic.

"The theme of our Philippine Independence Day celebration this year is Pag-suong sa Hamon ng Panibagong Bukas (or Rise Towards the Challenge of a New Beginning). As a new administration is being ushered in this month, the Embassy reaffirms our commitment to serving you better and upholding the core service values of promoting the welfare, rights and benefits, and well-being of Filipinos in South Korea," the Ambassador said. She announced the upcoming renovation of the consular wing of the Embassy building and upgrading of the communication facilities as part of the service improvement efforts of the Embassy. "With the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers, and upon completion of its transition process, you can also expect responsive policy reforms and more integrated frontline services for our overseas Filipino workers under the incoming leadership", Ambassador De Vega added.

The three-part program commenced with the commemorative messages from His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte; Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin of the Department of Foreign Affairs; Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III of the Department of Labor and Employment; and Secretary William Dar of the Department of Agriculture. This was followed by a forum where the Embassy officers and attached services provided updates on consular, labor, PEAK Pinoy reintegration program for returning OFWs, and new Philippine and Korea entry protocols. Ambassador De Vega led in responding to the various concerns raised by the FilCom leaders during the question-and-answer portion.

A special segment of the program featured the awarding of Certificates of Recognition to three (3) awardees from South Korea, namely, Rev. Dr. Ariel Bernardo, 2021 Banaag Presidential Awardee; Mr. Rodney Queman, 2021 Bagong Bayani Awardee for Social and Community Service; and Mr. Nash Ang, 2021 Migration Advocacy Media Awardee. The Embassy also awarded Certificates of Registration to nine (9) Filipino community organizations and enjoined the leaders to update their registration and encourage non-registered community organizations to register using the new online facility.

The Filipino community enjoyed the musical and cultural numbers featuring the winning performances of Mr. Leo Altejos, Ms. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan, the Gwangju Jeonnam Philippine Community, and the Seoul Filipino Catholic Community. A surprise song number rendered by the Philippine Embassy and led by Ambassador De Vega brought the Filipino community leaders up on their feet and in unison sang "Tagumpay Nating Lahat". Adding cheers to the celebration were community dancing and lucky draws and tokens of appreciation to the Filipino community leaders for their continuing support to the activities of the Embassy and valuable services to their respective communities. -END-