Activists denied entry to SoKor

Here’s a case of deportees without a case.

    Another Filipino activist deported from S. Korea

    MANILA, Philippines – Yet another Filipino activist planning to attend a forum protesting the G-20 summit in Seoul, South Korea was prevented from entering the country over the weekend.

    Activist Bernice Coronacion of the Alliance of Progressive Labor was deported from Seoul on Sunday, making her the 7th Filipino activist to be deported from the country this week.

    “I felt so sad, pinagtitinginan ako. Actually umiyak nga ako. I’m really scared,” Coronacion said in a text message. She added that she was told to wait for almost 2 hours without telling her why she will be sent back to the Philippines.

    Other activists who were blacklisted by South Korea and deported from the country were:

    Maria Lorena Macabuag of Migrant Forum Asia
    Joshua Mata of trade union group Alliance of Progressive Labor
    Joseph Purugganan of development policy group Focus on the Global South
    Jess Santiago, an artist
    Rogelio Soluta of labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno
    Paul Quintos of research group Ibon.

    In an interview, Mata said it was the first time that he had been barred from entering a country despite having a visa.

    “I’ve attended many other conferences before but this is the first time this has happened. We were carried bodily to the detention center. Every time we asked for an explanation why we were blacklisted, all they said was ‘We don’t know,’” he told ABS-CBN’s “Umagang Kay Ganda.”

    Mata said he and the other activists were invited by labor groups in South Korea to attend the G-20 protest actions “since the collective of nations would be deciding on issues that would affect underdeveloped nations.” The G-20 is made up of the finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries.

    He said he specifically wrote in his visa application that he would be attending a forum that would protest the G-20 summit.

    “It’s not right. They shouldn’t have approved our visa applications if they had no plans to let us enter the country.”

    For his part, Bureau of Immigration officer-in-charge Ronaldo Ledesma said there had been instances when foreigners were given visas but disallowed from entering the country.

    “The visa is a privilege. Even if you are issued a visa, it can be taken back by the country. When foreigners come here although they have no case, sometimes we get advice from agencies that these foreigners could become a threat so we don’t allow them to enter the country,” he said.

    Mata said their group plans to hold a rally in front of the South Korean embassy to protest their deportation.

I had a similar experience many years ago. I was living in the US and went to Mexico on an extended vacation. At the end of my vacation, I was invited by some American friends to go with them to Austin, Texas.

“Austin is a party town,” they said. “We’ll take the train from central Mexico all the way to Texas. It’s going to be fun, the train looks like the ones you see cowboy movies.” So I said, “Let’s do it.”

At the border, the immigration officer denied me entry, even if I had a valid US passport and Americans vouching for me.

Basically, the immigration officer did not like my face and no amount of pleading from me or my American friends could make him change his mind. I had to walk across the bridge back to Nuevo Laredo and wait for the next train back to the Mexican capital.

Upon reaching Mexico City, I took a plane for Los Angeles. At immigration, I told the friendly immigration officer about my ordeal in Texas. He laughed and said, “That’s Texas for you.”

And so the moral of the story for the deported activists is : “That’s South Korea for you. They don’t like your kind, go somewhere else where you are welcome.”


The activists now claim the rights of all Filipinos were violated and they want the government to file a protest.

Privelege nga, eh!.

Anyway, from now on and for the benefit of idiots, every country in the world should have a warning printed on their visas: “Warning! A visa is no guarantee of entry. Travel at your own risk!”

The activists are disappointed that the government did not respond to their deportation in the way they hoped it would so now they suspect it was the government that asked the SoKors not to grant them entry.

Ayun, kasalanan ng gobyerno na hindi sila pinayagan pumasok ng SoKor para sumali sa mga sa mga anti-G20 rally.

They are planning a protest rally at the SoKor embassy.

That’s their right although I’m not sure letting off steam in front of the embassy is going to do them any good.

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Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • benign0 ,

    That’s commies for you. Always playing the victim card (a card that their fellow “victims” respond to quite well, I might add). 😀

    • Cocoy ,

      To me this whole thing is a non-issue. It is South Korea’s turf. Their house. Their rules.

      • benign0 ,

        South Korea kicks Pinoy commie ass

        Indeed, the Philippines is living up to its place in the scheme of human civilisation as the butt of jokes exchanged by diplomats whenever they come together for grilled steaks and beers. According to Warden Bello

        “We cannot turn a blind eye to the South Korean government’s act of repression against Filipino nationals. This arbitrary act manifests a lack of respect for the Philippine government and the Filipino nation,” Bello said in a statement.

        Perhaps he should reflect a bit on the possibility that the reason foreign governments don’t respect Pinoys is because Pinoys lack self-respect.

        What a laugh. He is even suggesting that the government ban South Korean nationals from entering the country until their government apologises.

        Representative Walden Bello of the Akbayan party list also urged the Bureau of Immigration to ban the entry of Korean citizens in the country until the South Korean government apologizes for its actions.

        Perhaps it is Bello who should be sensitive to South Koreans who have for the last half century lived under constant threat of being overrun by their belligerent communist neighbour north of the 38th Parallel. A bunch of bozos with known links to an alebeit mediocre Philippine communist “struggle”, being deported by a state that achieved mightily in discrediting their “cause” will not find much sympathy in today’s world.

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        • UP nn grad ,

          NOT FAIR!!! 👿 Because they gave you a a visa, one then has the right to hold banners, yell and scream and cause traffic jams. It is good for SoKor tourist industry!!!! 😀