MANILA (May 29) — The Philippines and the Republic of Korea (ROK) will sign 10 agreements on trade, energy, and labor during the visit of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to Seoul from 30 May to 2 June.
President Arroyo will travel to ROK for an official visit on May 30-31, upon the invitation of South Korean President Lee Myung Bak. She will also participate in the ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit in Jeju Island on June 1-2.
There will be five government-to-government agreements to be signed after the two Presidents’ bilateral meeting at the Blue House.
These include the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Employment Permit System (EPS), MOU on Labor and Manpower Development Cooperation, Notes on the Grant Aid for Rice Processing Complexes (RPCs), MOU on the Feasibility Study on the Multi-Industry Cluster (MIC) Program, and MOU on Agricultural Scientific and Technical Cooperation.
Labor Secretary Marianito D. Roque and ROK Minister for Labor Lee Young-Hee will sign the MOUs on EPS and Labor and Manpower Development Cooperation. The EPS deal is a labor arrangement allowing skilled Filipino workers to avail of job opportunities in South Korea and renews the expired 2006 arrangement. The second MOU is an institutional cooperation arrangement.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo and ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung Hwan will sign the US$13-million grant aid to construct RPCs in the provinces of Pangasinan, Bohol, and Davao del Sur. They will also ink the deal on Feasibility Study on the MIC which pledges the conduct of a KOICA-funded feasibility study on the synergistic cooperation activity envisioned under the MIC.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and the president of the Korean Rural Development Authority will sign an institutional cooperation agreement on agricultural cooperation.
Aside from these agreements, five other government-to-private deals will also be signed.
These include the MOU on Information Exchange and Cooperation between the Philippine International Sisterhood and Twinning Association and the Korea Local Authorities Foundation for International Relations, MOU on Cooperation and Friendship between Benguet Province and Chungcheungbukdo Province, MOU between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency on institutional cooperation, and the Project Agreement between the DENR and the Korea Energy Economics Institute.
A commercial investment agreement between a Philippine energy firm and a Korean power company will also be concluded.
President Arroyo will also meet members of the Filipino Community (FilCom). The five government-to-private deals will be signed after the FilCom event.
The Philippines and ROK celebrate the 60th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations this year which the President has also declared “Philippines – Republic of Korea Friendship Year.” This year also marks the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-Republic of Korea Dialogue Relations.
ROK is one of the Philippines most dynamic partners with bilateral trade at around US$5.06 billion and Korean investments in the Philippines at over US$3 billion. Annually, 600,000 Korean tourists take the largest share of the visitor arrivals to the Philippines.