PGMA hails OFWs as partners in RP’s progress

September 21, 2009 10:49 am 

AL-KHOBAR, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sept. 21 — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo hailed last night overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as partners in uplifting the Philippine economy.

In her speech before some 1,000 OFWs representing the 1.3-million strong Filipino community here, the President said OFWs remittances, together with tough economic reforms, have been instrumental in helping the country weather the global economic crisis.

“Napakalaki ng naitutulong ng inyong mga remittances sa pagpapatuloy ng kaunlaran sa Pilipinas (Your remittances have been a very big help in continuing the progress of the Philippines),” the President said.

Noting the sacrifices OFWs make to provide for their families back in the Philippines, the President said improving the work environment of OFWs is a priority of her administration.

“Alam ko na ito ay bunga ng sakripisyo kasi nagtatrabaho kayo sa malalayong lugarna may ibang kultura at kung minsan lonely at mahirap na trabaho kaya naman tayo ay nagtatrabaho upang lumikha ng mga trabahong maganda ang sweldo sa ating bansa para sa ganon, yung mga magiibayong dagat ay magiging career choice at hindi lamang only choice para sa masipag na Pilipino (I realize the hardship and sacrifice our OFWs have to go through: to work in foreign lands with different cultures and to endure the feeling of loneliness and of being away from family and loved ones. That is why we are working towards training Filipinos for jobs in high-paying industries so that those who plan to work abroad will do so a career choice and not because it is the only choice),” the President said.

She said that while two-thirds of the world’s economies were reeling from the effects of the global recession, the Philippines posted a 17 percent increase in private construction and a 16 percent increase in mining. Since 2001, she said the business process outsourcing, (BPO) sector has grown from an initial 4,000 workers to 400,000 as of February 2009.

Government’s partnership with OFWs has also resulted in infrastructure investments such as the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway that have made travel to and from Manila and the northern provinces of Luzon shorter and more enjoyable.

“Your remittances have defied expectations. Hindi bumaba, hindi nag-standstill but instead umangat. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyo (It hasn’t gone down but has instead gone up. The country thanks you.),” the President said. (PNA)

DCT/OPS/ssc

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