KUALA LUMPUR OFWs HANDED GMA P3.6-M FOR BUILDING CLASSROOMS IN RP

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (PLDT), October 17, 2003  (from OPS) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo thanked the 24 Filipino Community Associations in Malaysia Wednesday night for donating P3.6 million for the construction of 18 classrooms in the Philippines.

Speaking before an overflow crowd of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) at the Grand Ballroom of Concord Hotel here, the President recalled that, in her first visit to Malaysia in 2001, she called the OFWs as "overseas Filipino investors."

"Talagang tutuong tutuo nga pala yong aking bansag (Your new designation is proven to have been correct)," she said to the thunderous applause of the OFWs whom she praised for investing in the education of Filipino children.

The President also invited the OFWs in Malaysia, who number about 600,000, to invest in housing in the Philippines. She noted that her administration has been implementing a program to provide shelter to as many Filipino families as possible.

She urged those who have not yet availed of the housing program to invest now for their own housing so that they will have a place to go to when their contract expires or when they retire.

The building of classrooms is a joint project of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

The President noted that the present ratio of children to classroom in the Philippines is about 100 to 1. She said that the OFWs donation will go a long way not only in closing that gap but also in uplifting education in the country.

The Filipino workers held a program in honor of the President entitled "An Evening with the President" at the posh Concord Hotel. The ballroom at the Concord Hotel was filled to the rafter

The OFWs had a grand time as the President acceded to a series of photo opportunities with them at the end of the program.

The workers broke into thunderous applause as the President entered the hall. She was dressed in a long sleeve pink blouse with red long skirt.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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