PGMA cites OFW contribution to RP economy

July 11, 2009 7:26 pm 

MANILA, July 11 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) today for helping fuel the Philippine economy and remaining resilient in the present global challenge.

In a speech before delegates and participants to this year’s fifth Ambassadors, Consuls General and Tourism Directors Tour (ACGTDT) at Malacanang’s Ceremonial Hall, the President reported that OFW remittances last year reached a record USD16.4 billion, equivalent to 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

“So far this year, they are already 2.5 percent higher than last year, thanks to your unswerving dedication, our far-flung heroes,” the President told the delegates, referring to the Filipino migrant workers.

The President noted that Filipinos in the United States and Canada remain the top two remitters of funds to the Philippines.

“To the best of our ability, we will continue to work to keep the global recession from overwhelming us. It won’t be easy, but with the support of our people, and the support of our overseas Filipinos, we can rise to the challenge,” she said.

The Chief Executive noted that one reason why the Philippine economy is strong is her vigorous engagements and bilateral cooperation with other countries, thereby encouraging foreign investors.

As a result, she said net foreign direct investments had multiplied from USD1.95 million in 2001 to almost USD 3 billion in 2007.

Her foreign trips, she pointed out, also benefited OFWs by helping former death convicts Sarah Dematera, Marilou Ranario and May Vecina, among others get reprieves.

During President Arroyo’s state visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2005, King Abdullah pardoned and gave amnesty to some 700 detained OFWs. Half of the 700 OFWs were part of the President’s entourage when she returned home.

Another benefit of international bilateral cooperation is the passage of the Stimulus Package Bill or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sponsored by Senator Daniel Inouye for the Filipino veterans living in the Philippines and in the US.

Started in 2004, this year’s ACGTDT is a joint project of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Tourism and the Department of Trade and Industry. The tour will run up to July 17. (PNA)

scs/OPS/rsm

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