To commemorate the 68th anniversary of the outbreak of Korean War on June 25, 1950, former President Fidel V. Ramos, a Korean War veteran, leads today, June 24, the celebration of Filipino heroism at the PEFTOK Korean War Memorial Hall, Philippines-Korea Friendship Center at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has been invited to serve as the guest of honor and speaker that will include the new Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines Han Dong-Man.
“May all the efforts for the reunification of South and North Korea develop progressively and be rewarded with a rich harvest of enduring peace and bountiful prosperity for the Korean people and for the perpetual harmony and security of all mankind,” says Ramos. “Today we honor our valiant heroes.”
“I believe that the veterans deserve the title of hero,” says Philippine Ambassador to Korea Han Dong-Man. “There is no doubt that the Republic of Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy and economic prosperity today without the noble and great sacrifice of Filipino Korean war veterans. In addition to suffering the brutality of war, PEFTOK soldiers had to contend with homesickness, language disparity and the harsh Korean winter unfamiliar to Filipinos.”
On June 25, 1950, the Philippines was one of the 16 Asia-Pacific countries led by the United States that responded to the urgent call by the United Nations to deploy combat troops to South Korea when war broke out, invaded by communist Chinese and North Korean forces. These 7,420 Filipino soldiers were collectively known as the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK).
Then-UN General Assembly President Carlos P. Romulo explained to President Elpidio Quirino and the Philippine Senate that to participate in the Korean War was not only in the Philippines’ national interest but a duty it had to perform as a UN-member nation.
Romulo further said that the UN Security Council resolution which was passed on June 27, 1950 or two days after the Korean War erupted calling all UN member countries to help South Korea did not tear asunder the war renunciation provision of the Philippine Constitution—that it was not an act of aggression, but rather “in response to the UN’s call for assistance.”
Ramos then was just 22 years old with the rank of second lieutenant of the Philippine Army when he volunteered in the Korean war.