Davao native wins parliament seat in Korea

Subscribe Now April 13, 2012 at 09:55am

A Filipina from Davao and naturalized Korean won a seat for proportional representation at the 19th Korean National Assembly following the general elections on Wednesday. Jasmine Lee, 35, is the first Korean parliamentarian from the growing immigrant community sector of Korean society, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a news release on Thursday.

"(Lee) is a candidate of the ruling Saenuri (New Frontier) Party, formerly known as the Grand National Party. Saenuri won 25 out of a total of 54 seats for party list representatives. Ms. Lee was number 15 on the list," the DFA said.

The ruling Saenuri party also grabbed the majority votes for the 300 parliamentary seats by winning 152 seats.

According to the DFA, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Filipinos in Korea were proud that Lee, a full-blooded Filipino, became a member of the Korean Parliament.

"It shows that Korea is prepared to extend the opportunity to become a public servant even to those who were not born here," Binay said.

Philippine ambassador to Korea Luis Cruz said Lee "has once again made Filipinos in Korea proud in her latest string of achievements as a naturalized Korean."

"She has distinguished herself as an ardent advocate of multiculturalism in Korean society. We hope that she will continue to promote the rights and welfare of the 1.2 million growing immigrant community in Korea," Cruz added.

Lee grew up in Davao, and met her future husband Lee Dong-ho in 1994 when she was a college freshman majoring in Biology at the Ateneo de Davao University.

She has been known in South Korea as an actress, host, and a social worker. She was the director of the Global Resource Center – a nongovernmental organization serving the foreign wives of Koreans.

They were married in April 1995, and subsequently moved to Korea. They have two children. Lee became a Korean citizen in 1998.

However, her husband died of a heart attack two years ago while rescuing his daughter who was caught in a whirlpool in a mountain stream in Okcheon-dong, Gangwon province while on a family vacation.

Since 2006, Lee has appeared as a panelist on the KBS television program "Love in Asia."

Last year, she portrayed the role of the mother of the lead actor in the highly acclaimed Korean movie "Wandeuki" (Punch), which drew 5.3 million viewers.

In January 2012, she received the Korea Image Millstone Award given to people who successfully blended into Korean society.

Presently, Lee regularly gives lectures about multiculturalism in Korea for teachers and student leaders.

She is the secretary-general of Waterdrop, a charity formed by foreign spouses of Koreans.

Source: gmanetwork.com

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