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PIA Press Release
2007/12/11

Commentary: Nothing but praise for our OFWs

By Mimi G. Bern-Edaga

Zamboanga City (December 11) -- Industrious. Dedicated. Reliable. Honest. Ambassadors of goodwill. These are the hallmarks of Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) that makes every Filipino proud, their families, more so President Arroyo who heard the praises for her compatriots from Spain and United Kingdom during her recent seven-day mission there.

But like a loving mother who longs for the presence of her children at home no matter how grown-up and successful thy are elsewhere, President Arroyo prefers to keep the family ties of every Filipino closely knit by keeping them in the Philippine soils.

A typical Filipino trait of keeping the family intact in an ancestral home, including extended members, is a tough but noble aspiration. It requires ample resources and will from the matriarch to feed, nurture and empower each of them for self-sustainability.

In the same way, President Arroyo is doing all she could in her power to sway the best and brightest OFWs to return and serve their homeland by investing their talents here, specially in building communities and in providing leadership to the next generation.

But the job of attending to the security requirement to sustain the country's economic gains is huge especially so when some sectors in the community delight in putting it to jeopardy as explicit in the failed Manila Peninsula siege. This kind of distability shuns away our OFWs from returning to our shores.

Furthermore, inviting our OFWs to come home require the strong financial security net that their employers overseas could readily offer. Seeing this, she called on all Filipinos to channel their savings into business investments in the growing economy of the country.

To break the offshore employment cycle, the President is focused on economic reforms that could keep our best and the brightest at home.

She advised the OFWs that now is the opportune time for them to invest in the vibrant stock exchange, housing, family business and other ventures and catch the favorable business climate in their own backyard that bring economic windfalls to investors of other nationalities who took the risk in the area of business endeavors.

Added to this is effort from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) initiative to educate our OFWs in investing in the Philippine stock market. PSE President Francis Lim claims it as the best performing stock market in the world today.

On the other hand, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) have instituted re-trainings for displaced workers with someP1 billion funds to further equip and prepare them to new ventures in the both in their home grounds and abroad.

Family's of OFWs can also serve well in hastening the return of OFWs by themselves availing of the small entrepreneurship trainings that various government agencies offers to build the capabilities of aspirants.

By complementing the capitalization that can be provided by the OFWs, their families here can venture into a family interest that could be nurtured and hasten and reason for OFW to stay home with their love ones considering that the financial security net at their employers turf is now within reach though small and medium entrepreneurship when properly handled.

It's high time now they look back and access their chances of financial stability at home without putting a fight against home sickness.

Indeed, in whatever undertaking they are into, our OFWs deserve nothing but praise. (PIA9-zc) [top]

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