BANGKOK, THAILAND (VIA PLDT), October 21, 2003  (OPS)  President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has cited the significant contribution of the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here to the Thai society and to the economy of their homeland.

In her remarks at a gathering of the members of the Filipino community held Sunday night at the Grand Ballroom of the Regent Hotel here, the President said that the more than 5,000 Filipinos in Thailand are either professionals or experts in their chosen fields.

Some 500 Filipinos attended the hastily organized meeting. The Cabinet members and some Metro Manila mayors, who accompanied the President in her visit here, also attended the gathering.

The President, who arrived yesterday, is here for the 11th Economic Leaders’ Meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The two-day summit starts today.

According to the President, Filipinos in Thailand are either educators, business executives, musicians, or experts who are working in regional offices of the United Nations or other international organizations.

Some Filipino religious missionaries and development workers also run charitable institutions here and are respected in their fields of specialization, the President said.

The President recalled that during her state visit to Thailand in May last year, she also lauded the invaluable contribution to the Philippine economy of OFWs not only in Thailand but also in other parts of the world.

She said that in recognition for their contribution to the Philippine economy through their remittances, she had worked very hard for the passage of the absentee voting law and the dual citizenship law.

The President then called on the Filipinos here to support the reforms that she had initiated in the Philippines to improve the standards of living of the Filipino people.

"Hinihingi ko ang inyong suporta sa paghihilom ng malalalim na sugat ng hidwaan ng lipunan ng ating minamahal na bansa (I am asking for your support in healing the deep wounds in the society of our beloved country," the President said.

The Metro Manila mayors who form part of the presidential entourage here include Joselito Atienza of Manila, Feliciano Belmonte of Quezon City, Reynaldo Malonzo of Caloocan City, Benhur Abalos of Mandaluyong City, Emmanuel Carlos of Valenzuela City, Rosendo Capco of Pateros, Siegfredo Tingaq of Taguig, and Maria Lourdes Fernando of Marikina City.

GMA says RP-Thai relations at 'fullest bloom'

BANGKOK (via PLDT) – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has said that Thai-Philippine relations are at "fullest bloom" as she thanked Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra for the assistance that the Thai government has extended to the Philippines.

In her remarks at a gathering of members of the Filipino community held Sunday night at the Regent Hotel here, the President said she and Thaksin share a common vision for security, peace and development in the region.

The President particularly thanked the Thai leader for the donation of 10 airplanes, the first batch of which was delivered during the latter’s recent visit to Manila.

She said that the airplanes are now being used in the security campaign in the Southern Philippines. "We are very grateful to him for his support and concern for our country," the President said.

The President also said that she has learned a lot from Prime Minister Thaksin, especially in the campaign against illegal drugs and in promoting micro-finance and support for small and medium enterprises, which have been very successful in Thailand.

She even coined the term "Thaksonomics," in recognition of the innovative approach that Thaksin has used in reviving the Thai economy, which was the most battered in the financial crunch that hit Asia in l997.

The President said that during the 11th Economic Leaders’ Meeting that formally opens today, she would lead in the discussions on measures that would protect migrant workers, including Filipinos, in their host countries.

She said that at the two-day APEC summit, she would discuss, along with the other 20 economic leaders of the region, measures to protect the mobility of goods and people around the world.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved