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Korean store probed for discrimination

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered the Parañaque government to investigate allegations of discrimination committed by a Korean-owned souvenir store owner which refused to cater to Filipino clients.

Earlier, a concerned citizen posted on Facebook a video taken inside the Noble Philippines Souvenir and Giftshop the Aseana Power Station in Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City, showing a Korean staff telling Filipino customers that the store only sells to fellow Koreans and foreigners.

DILG Secretary Ismael “Mike” D. Sueno asked the Parañaque city government to check on the store and verify the alleged discrimination against non-Koreans, including Filipinos.

“If this is really true, this is definitely not acceptable. How can we be alienated in our own country?,” Sueno said.

He also pointed out that all businesses operating on Philippine soil are under the country’s rule of law and in the service of the general public.

“All establishments are to follow the LGU’s standards on business practices. There should be absolutely no tolerance for any illegal practices in business in the cities, any practices that hamper fair competition, and in cases like these, no tolerance for undue discrimination against Filipino citizens who have all the right to transact,” he added.

In compliance with the DILG’s directive, the city government has tasked its Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) to verify the facts, and if legally warranted, order the closure of the establishment if discrimination against Filipino customers is sufficiently established.

The BPLO team were able to confirm that the Korean’s store clients are indeed only foreigners as stated in an alleged partnership agreement with a travel agency with exclusive foreign clients.

The case mirrors a previous incident in January of this year, in which a Filipino soldier was denied service in a Korean spa at a lounge near the Kalibo International Airport. (Chito A. Chavez)