Help on the way for Kopinos in Cebu

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

CEBU CITY -- A Cebu-based Korean businessman expressed concern about the growing number of Kopino children who are abandoned by their Korean fathers without support for them or their Filipino mothers.

Yoon Ji Hyun, president of the Kopino Foundation Inc. in Cebu, said some of these children are left by their Korean fathers after their short-term English courses in Cebu end.

At least 22 Kopinos are listed in their records, but he was certain there are others still unidentified by the foundation. He said there are around 10,000 Kopinos nationwide, mostly in Quezon City.


The foundation was established in February 2009.

In 2010, Koreans overtook Americans as the biggest group of foreigners to visit the Philippines. More than 740,000 Koreans visited the Philippines last year, accounting for 21 percent of all foreign tourist arrivals, according to the Department of Tourism.

For now, there are no official data on Kopino children.

Yoon said he invited former Korean President Kim Young Sam and his wife, Sohn Myoung Soon, to visit Cebu so they can also see the situation of the Kopino children.

This is part of an effort to find benefactors who can send financial support to the children.

He said he feels for these half-Koreans and wants to impart their culture, adding that most of the mothers find it difficult to send them to school.

“Their fathers just leave them and we love these Korean children. They have Korean blood running in their veins,” he said in an interview last Friday night at the Capitol Social Hall.

Capitol hosted a dinner for the former president after the foundation informed Governor Gwendolyn Garcia of his visit to Cebu.

Yoon said the foundation wants to ask Capitol officials for a lot so they can build a school for these children. He said they already have a permit from their country to accredit all the courses of the educational programs they will be offering.

The governor, in a separate interview, refused to say if she is willing to let them use a province-owned lot, saying she was not yet introduced to the foundation officials and was only requested to welcome the former president.

Congressman Jung Ha Gyoon of South Korea has reportedly been supporting the Kopinos, as well.

Young Ki Kim, president of the Green Business Support Center in Seoul, Korea, who was also at the Capitol affair, said he has been getting help for the Kopino children. (RSA of Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 13, 2011.

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