PGMA holds reunion with Filcom leaders of Northeast United States
NEW YORK (via PLDT) (27 September) -- The atmosphere was distinctly Filipino, the conversation was a mix of Tagalog, Taglish and English, the greetings were warm, the general mood was tinged with an unspoken sense of homesickness.
On this "special night," as Vice Consul Elena Maninigat described it, leaders of the Fil-Am communities in New York City, New Jersey and Philadelphia, some of whom have not visited their old country for years, gathered at the Waldorf Astoria Towers for a reunion with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The get-together started promptly at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 26, New York time) with the arrival of the President who was immediately engulfed by an eager crowd of kababayans, some of them she personally knew from way back, through the government bureaucracy, from her native Pampanga as well as other parts of the Philippines.
After having finally made her way through the throng to the elevated platform after several minutes, the President gamely greeted everyone and thanked them for their presence even if the event "comes at an inconvenient time for you."
She expressed eagerness to know how things were going with the Filipinos in northeast United States. As for things back home, the President said the economy has reached a new level of "maturity and stability with some of the strongest macroeconomic fundamentals in 20 years."
Her administration, she added, has achieved what it had intended to attain, notwithstanding the widespread cynicism. "Six years ago, no one though we could get more revenues, cut down on tax cheats, strengthen the peso and move the stock market. And no one thought we could bring our budget into balance, as we did last year, pre-pay our debts and raise employment. But we did," she said.
The President said the country is well on the way to permanent stability and economic growth as she pointed out that investments are flowing in, the stock market has reached historic highs. Six million jobs have been created over the past six years at the rate of a million a year.
"The surge of investments has been anchored by the billion-dollar investments in our country of several major international companies," among the leading companies operating in various parts of the world, she said.
She said that with government finances vastly improved, her administration is pouring billions of pesos into education, healthcare, human and physical infrastructure.
"We take pride in our overseas Filipinos," she said. "You are honored by the government and the people for your sacrifice and dedication to your work, your family and your nation," the President said.
She pointed out, however, that she looks forward to the time when going abroad for a job would be just an option for Filipinos, and not their only choice to earn a living. (OPS/PIA) [top]