Saturday, October 6, 2012

South Korea and Armed Forces of the Philippines Relationship

By Priam Nepomuceno

South Korea and the Armed Forces of the Philippines marked the 62nd anniversary of the Philippine Expeditionary Forces to Korea which aided the former in parrying the invasion attempt by North Korea and its allies during 1950 to 1953.

Col. Arnulfo M. Burgos, Jr., AFP spokesperson, said the anniversary celebration was conducted at The War Memorial of Korea in Yongsan, South Korea.

It was was graced by guests from the host country, the Philippine Embassy, United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission, Filipino community leaders, and several veterans and war allies associations, according to Philippine sources.

PEFTOK is the Philippine Army contingent of the United Nations forces that fought in the Korean War.

The unit arrived in Korea in August 1950. It was composed of 7,500 troops, and was the fourth largest force under the United Nations Command.

It took part in the Battle of Yultong Bridge and the Battle of Hill Eerie, the sources said.

The unit operated with the United States 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division, and 45th Infantry Division.

One of the attendees, Col. Eddie Maningding, the Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to ROK, said "the gallantry and heroism of our PEFTOK warriors which to me has cemented that bond of friendship we are now enjoying with South Korea."

The activity's highlight was the wreath laying ceremony of the attendees led by Ambassador Luis T. Cruz, followed by a message he delivered which focused on the heroism of the Filipino soldiers during the Korean War from 1950-1953.

Burgos said notable PEFTOK veterans are the fathers of the AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, and PA commanding general, Lt.Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista.

As a manifestation of their gratitude, various programs of the South Korean government are being offered and implemented to benefit PEFTOK veterans and their dependents here in the Philippines.

These include the "Korea Revisit Program" where PEFTOK veterans and some of their dependents are invited to revisit Korea for a week with free air fare & hotel accommodation.

The Korean Government also supports PEFTOK scholars studying in the Philippines.

PEFTOK monuments were also erected in South Korea to remember the heroism of the Filipino warriors.

The PEFTOK monument in Goyang City, Gyeonggi-do Province, which is the biggest PEFTOK monument erected was recently visited by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Binay offered wreath to the dead Filipino soldiers and inaugurated the flag poles of the Philippines, South Korea and the United Nations in the monument.

"We pushed for the erection of the flagpoles in our PEFTOK monument for the Koreans to be more aware of our participation in the Korean War," Maningding said.

South Korea is a major supplier of the Philippines' military equipment especially on troop carrier, vehicle, and ammunition.

In connection with the AFP modernization and capability upgrade program, Maningding said Manila has pending projects with Seoul.

"Currently, we are considering other forms of cooperation with South Korea in the field of Defense. We are planning to tie up with the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses, the security think tank of South Korea's defense establishment with similar institutions in our country," Manigding said.

Dellosa said: "The AFP extends its appreciation to the South Korean Government in remembering the hard-fought battles of our Filipino soldiers.

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