By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter
Overseas voting, issue of important documents and certificates and a ‘bazaar with a cause’ marked Wednesday’s Labour Day celebrations, which were attended by more than 300 Filipinos.
The participants also had the chance to buy native food and cheap yet good quality items at the ‘bazaar with a cause’, which was part of the celebrations at the Philippine Overseas Labour Office-Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration (POLO-OWWA) compound. The proceeds of the sale would go to solve the problems faced by distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
During the event, many OFWs set to go on their annual vacation were given Overseas Employment Certificates (OECs), while others took the opportunity to update their Social Security System and Pag-Ibig (housing) accounts.
Labour attaché Leopoldo De Jesus told Gulf Times that May 1 is a special day, which recognises the contribution of millions of OFWs to their homeland.
Reading the message of labour secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, he said Filipino workers all over the world were hard- working, confident people with strong faith in God.
“The Filipino will do everything for his country and his family despite the many trials and challenges along the way,” the statement said.
Dubbed as “Manggagawang Pilipino handa sa hamon ng makabagong panahon (Filipino workers ready to face challenges of the new era)”, the celebrations also highlighted the community members’ ingenuity, courage and persistence.
Meanwhile, embassy officials conducted field voting in the same compound. The activity aims to reach as many OFW voters in Qatar as possible until May 13, the last day of overseas voting. The embassy hopes to get the votes of at least 40% of the 250,000 OFWs in Qatar.
Vice-consul Melvin Almonguera said the embassy and POLO-OWWA had been trying their best to help thousands of Filipino workers through various services.
Echoing the message of Almonguera, OWWA administrator Carmelita Dimzon said they would keep working hard to serve the people “with the same fervour and dedication that they had demonstrated over the past three decades”.
She stressed that her office was busy attending to various welfare problems at home and abroad. “We are on our toes monitoring global developments, which are a mix of political and civil discord, economic tension and natural disasters and calamities in regions that host millions of Filipino workers,” she said.
Government officials who graced the event included vice-consul Kristine Bautista, culture attaché Richard Billedo, deputy labour attaché Violeta Illescas, SSS officer Mike Ingal, Pag-Ibig information head Pamela Bautista, and welfare officers Philip Alano and Lenny Cleofas.
In a separate event, several Filipino community leaders attended Labour Day celebrations for expatriate workers in Qatar. It was spearheaded by Qatar Foundation for Combating Human Trafficking.