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Kopino’s fathers

Posted June. 10, 2015 07:29,   


Seven-year-old Kang Min-jae has never seen his father. Eight years ago, his father went to Korea after telling his mother that he would return after serving at the military for two years. However, the son has never heard from his father since. Meanwhile, his mother was put in jail while working at a bar, and Min-jae came to Korea to find his father and aunt. After some suffering, he met his grandfather. He’s now practicing Korean and knows how to say, “I love you, dad.” An MBC documentary program “Love” was aired on May 25 and covered a story of Kopinos, or children born between a Korean father and a Philippine mother. TV viewers were touched at Min-jae’s good-natured eyes.

Kopino’s fathers have different jobs, social status and ages. Some own a business in the Philippines, and others went there for business trip or travel. Among them, there are also students in their early 20s who went to the Philippines to study. They share one thing in common. They fell in love with a Philippine woman, lived with her, and returned to Korea when a baby was born and then broke off contact. The number of such abandoned Kopinos is estimated at 30,000. Irresponsible behaviors of some Korean men are a disgrace to our country.

Judge Joo Jin-oh of Suwon District Court ruled on May 28 that a Korean man who has two sons between a Philippine woman should pay 500,000 won (446 U.S. dollars) for childrearing every month until the children reach majority. And on Tuesday, judge Kim Su-jeong from Seoul Family Court ruled against a Kopino’s father to send 300,000 won (268 dollars) monthly as childrearing costs. Kopino-related lawsuits are increasing after a Kopino directly filed a suit in a Korean court for a paternity test and won in June last year.

Kopinos don’t hold Korean nationality and thus are not protected from the multicultural family support law. Japan lowered barriers for Japinos born between a Japanese man and a Philippines woman to acquire Japanese nationality. Some critics say Korea should also do the same for Kopinos through a systemic support. At this year`s Dong-A International Financial Forum held in Seoul in May, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that policies should be set up and a culture should be created where immigrants familiarize easily with the society, as a response measure for falling population due to ageing. Children of mixed blood in Southeast Asian countries who have a Korean DNA should be given chance to easily acquire Korean nationality. By making that a reality the fathers can erase their faults while Kopinos and others can become important human resources, which can lead to boosting the Korean economy.