Every Sunday in Hyehwa-dong, many Filipinos gather after church services to chat, eat, and buy things from their home country in an informal market. The Jongno District Office has told them to cease and desist because of
intolerance from mean people complaints from passers-by and residents.
There are about 46,000 Filipinos in Korea, forming the fifth largest ethnic group, following Chinese, Americans, Vietnamese and Japanese.
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“The reasons they gave up us was one, they received complaints from neighbors and pedestrians in the area; two, there were concerns about cleanliness and order; three, they want to redevelop the sidewalk and include a waterfall wall in the area; and four, they want to transfer the market to a new multicultural market,” the priest told The Korea Times over the phone.
“It’s a Philippine way of life. We go to church, then go to the market to buy provisions and meet friends. It’s an expression of Philippine culture. The national government has a policy about supporting multiculturalism in Korea, but there seems to be a contradiction with the district office’s plans. The church and the market should go together and not be separated,” he said.
Outside the church, there are usually 16 vendors selling Philippine products and cooked food. Many Filipinos living not just in Seoul, but also from the provinces, flock to the market to buy products from their home country
Parantar noted the problems raised by the district office can be addressed by the vendors at the market.
“The problems that they raised can be resolved by talking to the vendors. They are willing to cooperate. If they are concerned about the cleanliness and orderliness in the area, they can address the problems. If they want to redevelop the area again, they can integrate the Philippine market according to their plans,” Parantar said.
So they want to trample all over a migrant minority group so they can build a fountain. And if they’re concerned about “cleanliness” how about telling Koreans not to throw trash onto the street?
The district office said they have received civil petitions from the neighborhood and they have to take some measures against the Philippine market.
“There were many complaints from the pedestrians and residents. There also is a possibility of accidents as Filipinos flock out of the church after mass into car lanes,” said Lee Jong-ju of the district’s construction management division.
“A possibility of accidents”? Ever seen Koreans jaywalking right into oncoming traffic? How about delivery guys driving motorscooters right on the sidewalk? If you haven’t, you must be living in a parallel universe South Korea.
The district suggested moving to the grounds of Dongsung High School, but the school refused to participate. Another idea was shifting it to an area in front of the Catholic University of Korea campus, however, it has failed to respond to the suggestion.
Filipinos? Not in our back yard.
We don’t like Filipinos It’s not convenient for us.
He added that the district will try not to use physical force. “The best way would be to transfer them to a designated area, but otherwise we are going to crack down on the market from March,” he said.
They’ll force them into a “designated area”? Somebody thinks that Filipinos in Korea should be neither seen nor heard.