2018 is the ten year anniversary of the Kopino organization in the Philippines. The organization was founded in 2008 to provide food, shelter and education to Kopino children and their mothers.
Kopino Children Association Inc. (KCA) operates a shelter and school in Manila, Philippines. Kopinos are children with a Korean father and Filipino mother, but where the father has no contact with the mother and child.
There are nearly 40,000 Kopino children in the Philippines.
KCA, a not-for profit organization run by Koreans, offers, health, education and counselling services to the children and mothers who often live in poverty and suffer discrimination.
Currently, a petition was submitted to the Blue House in Seoul to solve the Kopino problem in Korea
Most cases are children born of a relationship between Korean male students and Filipino women,. Korean men typically return to Korea and break contact once they learn the Filipino woman is pregnant.
The women don’t have enough money to file a lawsuit or search for the father in Korea. Without proof of the father being a parent, the Korean government won’t issue a visitors visa or grant Korean citizenship.
Currently, civic groups and charities in Korea are actively supporting Kopinos, but there are still many people who say they are lacking.
Experts explain that the Kopino problem is primarily caused by socioeconomic discrimination by Korean men against South East Asian women.
Kopino has been a social issue for more than a decade. While the Philippine government is now paying attention to the growing number of Kopinos, the South Korean government has taken no action.
Japan has experienced such problems in the past. It is called JAPINO. However, Japan solved this problem through measures such as lowering the threshold of a work visa or giving them a way to obtain Japanese citizenship.
The Korean government will also need concrete legal measures to help Kopino children and their mothers fight for financial support from Korean fathers and legal status as Korean citizens. The private sector also needs to improve its perception and support on a humanitarian level.