Aquino greets returning OFWs


PRESIDENTIAL SALUBONG President Benigno Aquino III welcomes home Virginia Tulagan Miranda, a household service worker at Dubai, United Arab Emirates during the Presidential Salubong at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Thursday. INQUIRER PHOTO / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

No less that President Aquino was the official greeter of some 500 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Thursday afternoon to spend Christmas in the home country.

The OFWs on two flights from Qatar and Dubai received the distinct honor of a “presidential salubong” under the government’s annual Pamaskong Handog sa OFWs.

Three OFWs were the recipients of hundreds of thousands of pesos in cash, gift checks and savings accounts each from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) and other government agencies and corporate sponsors.

Pamaskong Handog, now on its 19th year, is the government’s way of paying OFWs back, they being “modern-day heroes” whose dollar remittances help keep the Philippine economy afloat.

The President, accompanied by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, Transportation Secretary Emilio Abaya, Owwa Administrator Carmelita Dimzon, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon and other officials, shook the OFWs’ hands before giving them gift bags at the passenger concourse.

Many of the OFWs, thrilled to be meeting the President, pulled out their mobile phones, cameras and tablets to have their pictures taken with him. Mr. Aquino gamely obliged with members of the Presidential Security Group pressing the shutters.

One of the three winners, Virginia Tulagan Miranda, 43, of San Carlos City, Pangasinan, arrived on Emirates flight EK-332 at around 4 p.m.

She was teary-eyed after receiving her prize.

“Thank you very much, this is an unexpected Christmas blessing for me and my family,” she said. Miranda is a domestic worker in Dubai.

She received P100,000 in cash from Owwa, $2,000 (P84,000) worth of gift certificates from Duty Free Philippines, and gift checks and savings accounts from Land Bank of the Philippines, Banco de Oro, Shoemart and DHL Express.

A mother of two who has been an OFW for 16 years, Miranda said she will use her prize to build a house.

The other winners were beautician Mary Grace Arcebuche from Quezon City and welder Romeo Ocampo from Angeles City, Pampanga. Both work in Qatar.

As part of the red carpet treatment for OFWs, the airport concourse was decked with a Christmas tree and colored lights. A choir sang Christmas carols.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Irma Balulot

    Ang mga dolyares na pumapasok ngayon ay hindi lamang dahil sa mga pinoy na nasa abroad. Marami na ring pinoy na andito sa Pinas at nagtatrabaho para sa mga foreigners by internet or online. Dapat bigyan ng atensyon ng gobyerno ang sector na ito at bigyan suporta.

    • John_Galt_II

      Ang tanga mo Irmang Baluktot. Kapag binigyan pansin ng gobyerno yan gusto mo bang magkaroon ng CCWA or Call Center Welfare Administration at PCCEA or Philippine Call Center Employment Administration. Kapag yan pinakialaman ng gobyerno hindi na yan lulubayan na parang mga buwitre.

  • Carlos_Iho

    G. Pres. Aquino, 

    Maganda yang ginagawa niyo na pagkikilala sa mga OFW, nagawa na rin ito ng iba.  Mas importante sana na gumawa kayo ng hakbang na mapabuti ang serbisyo ng inyong gobyerno sa mga OFW.  Umpisahan niyo na lang sa airport at alamin, kung hindi niyo pa alam, ang mga pinagdadaanan sa inyong mga tauhan sa BI ng mga OFW at ng mga nagkikipagsapalaran sa ibang bansa.

    Tingnan niyo kung anong mga batas ang nilalabag ng inyong mga patakaran sa immigration.  Siguro makabubuti kung magsagawa kayo ng survey para alamin kung ilang porsyento ng mga OFW ang may tiwala sa mga tauhan ng BI at nagkaroon ng di magandang karanasan sa kanila.

    Sana tingnan niyo rin kung sang-ayon ang mga OFW sa inyong mga patakaran at batas at para magkaroon ng tunay at tamang kauhulugan ang inyong kasabihan na “tuwid na daan.”

  • blainz

    Nice gesture, but the OFWs would appreciate it more if POEA was simply dissolved. It is an unnecessary, expensive, bureaucratic incumbrance. Filipinos should not be treated as if they’re owned by the state, needing a pencil pusher’s permission to work abroad.

    Also, those OWWA funds diverted to PhilHealth under the previous administration, when is it going to be returned?

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