MECO: OFWs in Taiwan all set for 111th RP Independence Day celebrations

June 11, 2009 11:54 am 

MANILA, June 11 — The Manila Economic and Cultural Office has prepared numerous activities for overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan in celebration of the Philippines’ 111th Independence Day, ranging from cultural and entertainment shows to giving recognition to outstanding OFWs.

Antonio I. Basilio, MECO resident representative and managing director, said the celebrations will be held on June 14 and 21 in three key cities in northern and central Taiwan to give the more than 90,000 OFWs in Taiwan, most of whom are off from work on Sundays, an opportunity to join the festivities.

Basilio said a festival of dance, music and performance will be held in northern Taiwan on June 14, followed by a celebration in Taichung on June 21, which will be highlighted by the recognition of outstanding Filipino workers and associations.

“We are extremely mindful of the difficult times that our country and the rest of the world are going through. However, despite tough economic times, we believe it is still important that we all come together and show the world just how proud we are of our Filipino heritage. Together, we can be a positive force within our community and help move our country forward,” said Basilio.

Basilio said they are able to put together an inspiring Independence Day program through the support of various Filipino community associations in Taiwan. “This is tangible proof of the team spirit that is alive within our community. We’re calling on all OFWs in Taiwan to come to the event, and make it their own.”

The June 12 Independence Day cocktail reception will be held in the southern port city of Kaohsiung , Taiwan ’s second largest and fastest growing metropolis according to Basilio. “It is part of our effort to reach out to our friends and partners in business and government in all parts of this beautiful island Taiwan, thus our decision to hold this important event in the south.”

Basilio also cited more than 65% of the Philippine shipment of goods by sea to North America, Philippines’ major market, comes through the Kaohsiung port, adding to note that over 30,000 Filipinos work in the area, with the majority employed in the manufacturing industry.

Expected to grace the reception are Taiwan ’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrew Li-Yan Hsia, representatives from the international community and other dignitaries. It will showcase performances by Filipino talents such as known tenor Vicente Fortunato Moran of the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation for Culture and Education and the world-renowned Bayanihan Dancers..

Then on June 14, MECO will bring the celebration to northern Taiwan at the Taoyuan Stadium in Taoyuan City , one of Taiwan ’s most important industrial areas. The celebration is supported by the Taoyuan County Local Government, Globe Philippines , Taiwan Mobile and the Federation of Filipino Communities in Taiwan .. Land Bank of the Philippines, Pag-IBIG Fund, Social Security System, Metrobank, Western Union, Bing Go, Lucky Money Taiwan, I-Remit, EEC, OK Mobile Taiwan, Taitekton and JICC are the event’s major sponsors.

Taiwan’s Council of Labor Affairs will be promoting direct hiring opportunities for OFWs at the Taoyuan Stadium. The CLA will occupy a booth at the festival venue where staff will be on hand to answer all of the OFWs’ queries on the special hiring program.

MECO has been aggressively marketing the special hiring facility among Taiwanese employers and skilled workers. The facility, also known as “direct hiring” and “name hiring,” allows Taiwanese employers to recruit Filipino workers without going through manpower agencies and recruitment firms.

One thing that draws thousands of OFWs to the National Day celebration each year is its entertaining program. The day will start with a colorful parade featuring members of various Filipino organizations in Taiwan. Rounding up the morning’s festivities is the highly anticipated dance showdown between some of the top dance groups in the country according to Basilio.

Before noon, an ecumenical prayer service to be led by representatives of the Catholic Church, Jesus is Lord and Iglesia ni Kristo will be held.

The afternoon’s entertainment will be provided by top Filipino artists including pop singer Randy Santiago, alternative rock band Parokya ni Edgar, Maui Taylor and comedian Manny Pokiao. A lucky draw will be held at 4:30pm, proceeds of which will go to the Philippine Ugnayan Migrant and Immigrant Center in Taipei, the OFW’s “home away from home” in Taipei , which provides outreach and counseling services, livelihood and skills training programs and an enriching environment for OFWs.

On June 21, the celebration will be held at the Tantzu Elementary School Stadium in Taichung , a city located on the west coast of central Taiwan . The Taichung City Government’s Bureau of Labor Affairs will be honoring Taichung’s 10 most outstanding foreign workers – five of them Filipinos, namely Cesar Layson Guinto, Realin Orlina Lobina, Paul Jurie Estaris Touquillo and Marivic Dela Cruz Balon, all employees of leading flat-panel display marker AU Optronics Corporation, and Janet Yaranon Baldicanas, a caregiver.

Three Filipino groups will also be honored during the Taichung celebration for outstanding community service, namely the Filipino Brotherhood Organization, 24K and Solas. The whole-day fiesta in Taichung is supported by the Reverend Joy Tajonera of the Ugnayan Migrant and Immigrant Center in central Taiwan. (PNA) /V3/PR/utb

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