By: Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Seoul

Seoul, 29 March 2018- PH Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez attended the luncheon meeting hosted by Korea's Minister of Employment and Labor Kim Young-joo for Ambassadors and Consul Generals representing the 16 labor-sending countries under the Employment Permit System (EPS) on 29 March 2018 at the Korea Press Center in Gwanghamun, Seoul. Ambassador Hernandez was joined at the meeting by Labor Attache Ma. Luz Talento, Head of the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Korea and Attache Jhoanna Jarasa.

PH Ambassador to Korea Raul S. Hernandez (6th from left) and other ambassadors from labor sending countries pose with Honorable Kim Young-joo, Minister of Employment and Labor of the Republic of Korea at the Maehwa Hall, Korea Press Center, Seoul on 29 March 2018.
The Korean Ministry of Employment and Labor (MoEL) briefed the diplomatic missions on the current status of the EPS program and its policy directions for 2018, as well as cooperation programs, such as the Worknet Development Project and Knowledge Sharing Program, being implemented by the Ministry in coordination with the different labor-sending countries.

Ambassador Hernandez, in his remarks during the same meeting, recommended some measures that aim to safeguard the welfare of the over 25,000 Filipino EPS workers in the country. Specifically, Ambassador Hernandez requested the Korean government to consider proposals aimed at enhancing the welfare and protection of Filipino nationals working in the manufacturing sector and other sectors in Korea experiencing acute labor shortage.

On top of previous proposals on the extension of the age ceiling for EPS workers and the inclusion in their contracts of a clause on the cost of repatriation of human remains to be immediately borne by their Korean employers, Ambassador Hernandez further proposed the institution of a monitoring system for tracking employer changes, strengthening of implementation of the National Pension System and the non-processing of C-4 visas to seasonal agricultural and fisheries workers until new laws and regulations are put in place to safeguard their welfare and interests.

Minister Kim gave an assurance during the meeting that the MoEL would look into the concerns raised by the diplomatic missions in relation to the treatment being accorded by Korean employers to foreign EPS workers, specifically in terms of ensuring occupational safety, adequate living conditions, and provision of health and insurance benefits. Minister Kim also promised during the meeting to enhance support for the early adjustment process, improve living conditions in the agricultural and livestock sectors, strengthen measures versus sexual violence, establish a support system for resolving conflicts, reinforce measures versus illegal stay and enhance reintegration support programs.

The meeting concluded with a luncheon where Ambassador Hernandez was invited by the MoEL to deliver toast remarks on behalf of the diplomatic missions.