Philippines president lauds Filipinos in Italy

Jun. 04, 2007

ROME (via PLDT) — President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo lauded Sunday the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Italy for their contribution to the Philippines stellar economic performance and for the good reputation they carved for the Filipinos here and elsewhere in the world.

In her message during her meeting with the Filipino community at the Fontifico Colegio Filipino here, the President said the dollar remittances of the OFWs have contributed much to the growth of the Philippine economy.

“Thank you for the $600-million remittances you sent and for investing your money in real estate, education and health,” the President said in the Filipino dialect.

“You must not be called overseas Filipino workers only but also overseas Filipino investors,” the President added.

She cited the boom in the countrys real estate sector where 40 percent of the market was accounted for by OFWs, making the real estate sector the biggest multiplier in investments and jobs creation in the country.

The President also noted the OFWs investment in the countrys financial capital and small and medium enterprises.

“The number of Filipinos working abroad has not increased at eight million since 2001, but their remittances have doubled from $7 billion to $13 billion,” she said.

At the same time, the President praised the Filipino workers in Italy for their high quality work which has earned the admiration of Italian employers.

“The Italians love you for your good traits. Almost all the Italians I talked to are all praises for you,” she said. “You seem to be at home here.”

The President cited similarity in the Filipino and Italian vision and faith as one reason Italians like Filipinos working here.

“This (Rome) is the center of our faith. We are the third largest Catholic nation in the world but we are number one as devout Catholics,” she said.

“We do not allow divorce, we are pro-life, we do not have a death penalty — one reason the Italians look to you,” the President stressed.

According to the President, Italy accepts 3,000 Filipino workers every year, one of the highest quotas for Filipino workers and a privilege given only to few countries.

“We should be proud we are Filipinos. You should be proud you are a Filipino,” she said.

The President also congratulated the Filipinos elected to Italys town councils. “Now you have a voice in Italy. Your rights could now be defended and your concerns could now be heard and answered,” she said.

In the same occasion, the President presented the Presidential Medal of Merit to Tomas Fernandez Concepcion, an artist commissioned by the Vatican City to work on the sculpture of Pope John Paul II.

The President also noted the active participation of the Filipinos here in the absentee voting in the 2004 presidential elections and encouraged them to continue participating in the democratic process to elect competent leaders who would work for the benefit of the country and the eight million OFWs.

“Thank you for voting for me in 2004. I won here,” she enthused.

There are some 20,000 Filipinos in Italy. (OPS) (

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