Independence Day: PH embassy in Greece honors OFWs

Miles Viernes
'Like the country’s heroes, Filipino overseas workers are also sacrificing a lot in the quest for a better life in other countries'

SACRIFICE. The overseas Filipino community in Athens attends Independence Day celebrations of the Philippine embassy. Photo by Miles Viernes

ATHENS, Greece – For the first time, the Philippine Embassy in Athens celebrated the 116th anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence by hosting an exclusive reception for the Filipino community in Greece in recognition of their support for the Embassy’s objectives and programs.

Filipino community leaders, members of the Accredited Community Partners (ACPs), medical volunteers, sponsors and friends of the Embassy attended the event at the Stratos Vasilikos Hotel.  

The theme of this year’s celebration is “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago (Following in the Footsteps of Noble Filipinos, Towards a Wide-Ranging and Permanent Change).”   

Like the country’s heroes who gave their lives to achieve Philippine independence, Filipino overseas workers are also sacrificing a lot in the quest for a better life in other countries. (READ: #Kalayaan2014: What is independence?

Ambassador Meynardo LB Montealegre extolled the skill and dedication of  overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who continue to contribute to the economic development of the country.

“Kinikilala namin kayo, ang manggagawang Pilipino, dahil sa inyong pagsisikap, at sa inyong mga sakripisyo sa isang bansang malayo sa inyong Inang Bayan, upang mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan and inyong pamilya,” he said.

(We recognize you, Filipino workers, for your dedication and sacrifices in a country far from your mother land, in order to provide a better future for your families.)

He reiterated the call of President Benigno Aquino III for all Filipinos worldwide to support the government’s programs towards a “matuwid na daan (straight path),” and enhanced opportunities in the fields of education, health and employment.

Ambassador Montealegre also cited the encouraging economic and social  developments in the Philippines, which he said is now  considered the “fastest growing economy” in Asia for 2013, second to China, with a 7.2% gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in 2013 despite the natural calamities that devastated the country such as the Typhoon Yolanda and earthquakes in Bohol and Cebu.  

In addition, OFW remittances last year increased by 7.6% compared to 2012 reaching a record $25.1 billion.

There has also been an increase in the number of tourists visiting the country from Korea, the United States, Japan, China and Australia.

With these developments, the Ambassador reminded Filipinos and other guests that this is the time to invest in the country, and to entice their employers to visit our tourist spots such as Palawan, rated by Lonely Planet as one of the “best value travel destinations for 2014,” and Vigan, which is in the Top 28 of the poll for the “New 7 Wonders – Cities of the World.”

It was a joyous occasion which gathered, for the first time, the leaders and members of the Fiipino community at a reception hosted by the Philippine Embassy.

A reception for the members of the Diplomatic Community will be held on Friday, June 13. A fashion exhibition showcasing banaca fabric by Ms Dita Sandico Ong will highlight the event. – Rappler.com

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