MANILA — South Korea recently honored Filipinos who fought during the Korean War, citing their contributions to bringing peace and economic prosperity to the country 70 years since the conflict.
In an event commemorating the war, South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man expressed gratitude to Filipino war veterans for their help.
“Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy, and economic prosperity without the Korean War veterans,” he said in a statement.
Some 7,500 Filipino fighters were sent to the Korean Peninsula to support United Nations Forces in 1952- the first foreign war the Philippines fought. Philippine troops- who fought alongside soldiers from 15 other nations under the UN command- were sent there just seven years since the end of World War 2, which had left their homeland in ruins.
Among those who fought in the war were former president Fidel V. Ramos. A total of 112 Filipinos lost their lives.
In his message, the Korean envoy cited how the fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is no different from a war against an invisible enemy, but that it is “something that we can overcome together with cooperation, helping one friend to another.”
Philippine Veterans Affairs Office Administrator Ernesto Carolina, meanwhile, cited the valor of Filipino soldiers sent to the frontlines in a foreign land to fight for freedom and democracy.
“The Korean war has become a forgotten war for today’s 100 million Filipinos, but for the veterans then it was [the] defining event of their lives,” Carolina said.
During the event, history professors Ricardo Trota Jose from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and Ateneo de Manila University’s David Lozada III and Neville Jay Manaois discussed the significance of incorporating the Korean War in school curricula and how best to approach it.
Manaois said it is time to teach about the Korean War in Philippine schools given the interest of Filipinos in Korean history and way of life.
While fighting ended in the Korean Peninsula in 1953, South Korea and North Korea remain in a frozen conflict to this day, with periodic tensions largely due to threats from the north's reclusive regime.
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