Monday August 20, 2018

Sangil: The significance of Trump-Kim meeting to Angeles City

ALL the headlines of many newspapers around the world described the meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as nothing but historic.

How significant is that us Filipinos, specifically to Angeles City where it host a Korean town? Close to 20 thousand Koreans are staying in the city and hundreds of thousands arrived yearly via Clark Airport. They play golf, squander their money on casinos at the Freeport and having grand time on several video bars along the Friendship road.

Samgyupsal, kimchi and few Korean slang words we commonly hear now are added to our local dictionary. The Koreans “invaded” Angeles City and slowly but surely built their own community in and around the spine road of the Friendship Highway in Barangay Anunas. It is only a whispering distance to Clark Freeport where big Korean investments kept pouring in for the past several years.

Why are they here, you may want to ask. Obviously for various reasons. But first the background. The Korean Peninsula was divided into two. The north and the south. The Korean war raged for three years, 1950 to 1953. The war divided the country into a communist northern half and an American- occupied southern half, the division marked by the 38th parallel as the demarcation line.

Few years ago I traveled to Panmunjong, the last Korean city before North Korea with my friends Ferdinand Beltran, Martin Vitug and Bacolor Vice Mayor Ananias Canlas Jr. and saw for ourselves the no man’s land that separates the two Koreas. Our travel guide was so impressed when I told him about the participation of our Filipino soldiers during that war.

That our soldiers were the last combatants repelling the onrushing North Korean contingents aided by communist Chinese troops. They were the soldiers belonging to the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea (PEFTOK) where former President Fidel Ramos saw actions.

The postwar planners had intended the division between the north and south would be a temporary administrative solution but to this day the reunification effort on both sides was stonewalled.

And every now then, due to change in leadership from Kim Il Sung, considered as great leader of the North Korean nation, to his son Kim Jong il and now the very young and inexperienced grandson Kim Jong Un would intermittently send shivers to the south every time the latter would order tests of their nuclear arsenals.

That's one good reason why many Koreans are placing investments in other nations particularly in our country. The experience of the South Vietnamese people during the fall of Saigon in the late sixties after it was overrun by the North Vietnamese soldiers may have influenced actions now of the Koreans coming from the south. With the Trump-Kim Jung Un handshake that was seen all over the world, including the millions of North Koreans glued on the country’s state television, will the Korean investment in Angeles City will be adversely affected? Maybe so.

The other reason why mostly are settled here in Angeles City and some moved to Baguio City, Metro Manila and in Cebu City in the south is because of proximity. The activation of the Clark International Airport must have contributed largely to the coming of the Koreans.

One of their legacy carriers, Asiana Airlines and some budget airlines like Jin Air make regular flights to Clark. Besides the proximity, the business climate in Angeles City is another attraction. And talking about attraction, many pretty young Filipina girls are now frequently escorted by Korean gentlemen.

It will be no longer be surprise to us that in the coming years we can have in the mainstream Philippine society Filkor kids, products of procreation by the two race. Gone are the days of Fil-Am kids after the closure of Clark Air Force Base in 1991.