‘Abusive’ South Koreans rile Davao councilors

Jun. 22, 2007

Davao City councilors Bonifacio Militar and Susabel Reta said they have received complaints of South Korean businessmen not paying their Filipino employees properly. Some South Koreans in the city, Militar said, are also behaving arrogantly. The two councilors promised to draft resolutions that would investigate the business practices here of the foreigners.

By Cheryll D. Fiel
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY — Councilor Bonifacio Militar has sought an investigation of some Koreans doing business in Davao City whom he criticized this week for allegedly abusing the country’s laws.

In a speech at the City Council this week, Militar cited complaints he said his office had received about Korean businessmen not paying their Filipino employees the required minimum wage.

Aside from this violation, Militar also said some of these businessmen have put up tourist establishments without consulting with local tour operators. Several, he added, do not even have the required visas to do business in the country.

The councilor said he would also look into the nature of ownership of some of their businesses in the city in light of the law that foreign nationals or companies are allowed only limited ownership of businesses and investments in the country.

South Koreans are now the top tourists to the Philippines. They are all over the Philippines and have established residences in many cities like Davao, taking advantage of the low cost of living. Many Korean businessmen in the city are into all sorts of business — restaurants, tour agencies, bars, real estate to language teaching schools. “We welcome them but they must respect our existing laws,” Militar said.

Earlier in his speech, Militar mentioned his dislike with the way some Korean businessmen behave. One case he noted was a Korean-built golf course where, he said, the Koreans managing the facility were “arrogant.”

Militar said he would soon introduce a resolution that would look into these cases. He also said he would ask the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to investigate the complaints that the councilor had received.

Militar’s sentiment was shared by Councilor Susabel Reta, who said she would also draft an ordinance protecting local tour operators. “No Filipinos could even put up a business in Korea but here in Davao City, they just swarm here,” Reta said. (Cheryll D. Fiel/davaotoday.com)

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