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PIA Press Release

Call OFWs "expats" just like foreigners working here, RDR says

by JMD Abangan Tagum City (20 November) -- Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) can be called expatriates just like the foreigners who are working in the Philippines, Davao del Norte Provincial Governor Rodolfo del Rosario said.

Speaking before families of OFWs during the recently held Caravan on National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NCRO) Advocacy and Reintegration Programs and Services, del Rosario echoed views of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who cited OFWs in her speeches as "expats."

"If we are calling the foreigners, "expats", why can't we call our OFWs as expats," he said in Bisayan dialect as he explained the term as fitting to be used to give equal dignity to OFWs.

Del Rosario recognized the huge contribution that OFWs have been giving to the country's economy citing them as the country's largest export "bigger than any other exports (products) than we have."

Citing a national paper report, del Rosario said OFWs which are estimated at about 10 million, are chipping in an estimated 10 percent share to the country's gross national product (GNP).

Now that that the world economies are plagued with financial crisis which started with the risky real property investments in the United States, OFWs employment are at risk.

President Arroyo has called on concerned government agencies including the local government units to come up with contingency plans to save the OFWs and their families from losing livelihood.

Del Rosario said he was glad that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) had initiated the caravan on NCRO Advocacy and Reintegration Programs and Services to prepare the families of OFWs of any eventuality as a result of the global economic slowdown.

DOLE XI Assistant Director Ofelia Domingo admitted that the caravan is part of the contingency measures that the national government is doing to prepare for "worst case scenario" should OFWs fall out of their job and be going back home.

"We came to help you become more productive. Para matutulungan ninyo ang sarili ninyo, ang pamilya ninyo at kung makakatulong kayo sa sarili ninyo, makakatulong din kayo sa komunidad at sa bansa natin," she said during the opening program.

Going along the caravan were either the provincial or regional attached agencies of DOLE such as the Overseas Worker Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC), Professional Regulations Commission (PRC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), among other member agencies.

11 recruitment agencies and telecom firm Globe Telecommunications also joined the caravan of services for OFWs. (PIA) [top]

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