GMA'S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE;  PALACE PAYS TRIBUTE TO OFWs

MALACANANG, December 24, 2003 (OPS) "Nababalot man ngayon ang mundo sa krisis at terorismo, may isang katotohanan na hinding-hindi maipagkakaila; makakaraos at makakaraos tayong mga Pilipino.

"Ganyan ang pagkatao natin. Matibay sa harap ng kahirapan. Taas noo sa harap ng pagsubok. Ngayong Pasko ang ipinagdarasal ko ay tulad din ng dasal ninyo… pagkakaisa tungo sa mas maliwanag na kinabukasan.

"Ang pinakamagandang pamasko natin para sa mahal nating bayan; magsama-sama, magtulung-tulong tayo. At umaasa kayong ang liwanag ng Pasko ay higit na titingkad sa mga darating na araw.

"Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat."

Palace pays tribute to OFWs

Malacañang today paid tribute to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), saying they are not only good investors but also good ambassadors.

Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said in a radio interview that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo considers OFWs not only world-class workers but also OFIs, or Overseas Filipino Investors, because of their remittances that could amount to $8 billion this year.

Bunye said they could also be considered OFAs, or Overseas Filipino Ambassadors, because of the high regard they get from their host countries.

He cited an instance where the Kingdom of Bahrain offered a number of projects for the Filipino workers because of their known diligence.

For all their efforts, returning Filipino migrant workers were accorded VIP (very important person) treatment yesterday at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) with no less than the President’s daughter, Evangeline "Luli" Arroyo representing her mother.

Three lucky OFWs received cash and other prizes from government and private agencies led by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA).

The Pamaskong Handog Para sa OFWs, initiated by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1995, is an annual treat to Filipino migrant workers coming home for the Christmas season.

The VIP treatment allows OFWs to clear the immigration and customs areas fast.

From the thousands of OFWs who arrived yesterday, three won special prizes from the OWWA, Duty-Free Shop, Land Bank of the Philippines and Philippine National Bank.

This year’s lucky OFWs were Ricardo Cardenas, Ronnie Albens and Helen Cabanela. Each received P75,00 in cash and other prizes.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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