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Koreans are welcome in Baguio, RP
The primary economy of Baguio City is its educational centers of which it has in excess of seven colleges and universities as well as a plethora of trade and technical schools.

BAGUIO CITY- Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. appreciates the growing Korean community and its contribution to the city's economy for the last five years.

Bautista explained to The Manila Times that the Koreans have generally helped in uplift of the city's economy. They have provided employment opportunities for many city folks, as in putting up their own businesses and hiring city residents.

"I am happy that majority of the Koreans in the city are the good ones who are business-oriented or involved in church-related missions,"Bautista said.

He also clarified that Baguio City is not being invaded by the Koreans, as out of 10,000 Koreans in the city, around 90 percent were students learning how to speak English and 10 percent are adults or missionaries.

"They like our weather which according to them was similar to the weather condition in South Korea" added the mayor.
Bautista pointed out that he sees no business rivalry between the Koreans and the Fil-Chinese businessmen in the city.

"I found out that Koreans put up their business establishment purely for Koreans only, unlike with the Fil-Chinese or pure Chinese businessmen who cater to everybody,"he noted, adding that this was the case even in America and Europe, where Koreans put up businesses for fellow Koreans."

According to Lee Jun Sung, president of the Baguio Koreans Association, doing business in the country isn't that easy considering Philippine laws do not allow them to do so. They can only do business when a Korean is married to a Filipina or has a Filipino business partner.

Philippine laws allow foreigners to do business in the country and own at most only 40 percent of the enterprise.

Lee said that business rivalry with Fil-Chinese businessmen is unlikely since Chinese businessmen had a much longer head start compared to Koreans. The Chinese have been here for years, while Koreans came only five or six years ago. He added saying," Our business caters only to our fellow Koreans and few Filipinos are using our brands."

Lee Jun Sung said that a majority of the Koreans did find Baguio's all-year round "autumn" climate the one decisive factor for staying.

Another reason is education, Lee said that education here in the Philippines is much cheaper than in his country and they found a number of effective tutors in the use of English in the city. The skills in speaking and teaching English as a foreign language is one of the main reasons Korean students are growing in number in the major and secondary schools and universities in Baguio.

Lee said that after a period of schooling in the city, these Korean students go back to manage their own family business in Korea. "That is why we cannot say that Koreans are really staying for good in Baguio City or any place in the Philippines," he continued.

Still, many Koreans would want to learn the Filipino dialect as well in order to understand the culture of Filipinos and develop good relations with them.

Meanwhile, The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation (BID) accredited only 10 schools in the Cordillera Administrative Region for admitting Korean nationals or other foreigners in their educational programs. These are the University of Baguio, Saint Louis University, Benguet State University, University of the Cordilleras, Pines City Colleges, Baguio Central University, Luzon Nazarene Bible College, Montecello International College, International Christian College (ICC), and Kalos MA College in the entire Cordillera region.

CHED explained that in order for a Korean national or any foreigner to be granted a student visa, he must first apply and be accepted in one of the schools accredited by BID. In applying in BID-accredited schools, foreign students must follow a strict evaluation process and must submit all necessary documents required.

CHED also told The Manila Times that they only monitor Korean students through the regular reports submitted by the different schools. Other than this, they conduct regular visits to the schools in order to monitor the performance of these foreign students.

Besides the continuous increase in the population of Korean students in the different universities, Korean-owned establishments are also developing in the city of Baguio.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Baguio-Benguet Chapter Adviser Carlos Honorio Estepa Jr. commented that the Korean's contribution to the development of the business and tourism sectors of Baguio City is"a very welcome avenue."

"In terms of business development, the Koreans come here to invest. They are very welcome; because the Philippines need all the money they can get from investors. Aside from getting money from revenue, they are the ones who give jobs to the sectors of society," Estepa said.

The PCCI is the "voice of business and professionals," said Estepa. "It is our mandate to advocate good business practices," he added. He said that he is convincing Korean businessmen to join the chamber.

Estepa also noted the negative issues and disapproving feedbacks from Filipinos to the growing number of Koreans, which he said could be baseless or even malicious.

"Let us not single them [Koreans] out. It
'’s nice that they come here. They spend their money. We must be able to live with our neighbors and accept that competition, so long as it is healthy, can also be good," he said.

Lee, when asked for his reaction why the Baguio Country Club is not allowing Koreans to enter in the club said, "I am also wondering why, I think it is for their own members only, but some Koreans would like to become members of the club."

He said that there are 10 Koreans here who are members of the club. And they tried to appeal to the club board but to no avail.

The Manila Times tried to get words from Anthony de Leon, the general manager of the club but failed to do so, although an insider denied claims that Koreans were banned at the club, as Korean members and their immediate families were welcome to avail of the club's amenities. Its just that the board is not yet ready to allow new Korean members, said the source. (Manila Times)




 

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