"Filipinos Abroad: Hope of the Nation, Gift to the World"
This is an official entry to the 2009 Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards (PEBA).
Ang Panauhing Pandangal (ang panimula...)
Ngayong nasa entablado na ang espesyal na panauhin, nahahalatang medyo kulang siya sa tangkad! ...at kahit na sa malayo halatang-halata ang malaking nunal nito sa kanyang kaliwang pisngi, pati ang dalawang ngipin n'ya sa harapang medyo may kalakihan.
Hindi pa niya naibuka ang kanyang bibig para simulan ang kanyang maikling pananalita ay nagpalakpakan na ang madla!
Nagbago ang kulay ng ilaw sa loob ng pavilion, bahagyang dumilim ang silid ngunit may isang liwanag na nakatutok sa magsasalita... Narito ang kabuuan ng kanyang talumpati:
Good evening ladies and gentlemen!
It is, indeed, a great honour and privilege for me to be invited by the powerful men and women behind the Pinoy Expats/OFW Blog Awards, Inc. to speak for tonight’s PEBA Awarding Ceremony. Despite the cool Christmas breeze outside which has been brought by the amihan winds from the freezing temperature of the northern hemisphere, we seem to be sharing the same season with our KaBlogs Down Under because our attendance tonight shows the warmth of harmony and solidarity between us—and this is already an initial indication of this evening's success!
With Kenji creating this award-giving body for the Global Filipino bloggers in 2008; and with Nereus Jethro spearheading the group this 2009, I- together with our friends from OWWA, POEA and TESDA with their mother agency DOLE, and the DFA whose representatives are also here with us this evening—were greatly convinced that every Filipino blogger interspersed around the globe has been given the great power to influence every world-wide-web-reader through their writings. I am sure that as you- the supporters of PEBA- take the responsibility to write in your blog, you do not just simply become the hope of our country, but also the pride and inspiration of our beloved nation.
Currently, there are eleven million Filipinos living outside the country. The count includes all of you who venture overseas as temporary workers, expatriates, as well as those in the academe- which comprise 11% of the total population of the Philippines. I understand every story of every Global Filipino, like you...
...if we could only collect every teardrop, measure the loneliness, or even quantify the hard-work that you’ve been doing while you’re away from our homeland, it would surely flood or cover the entire earth—more than enough that it would be very impossible for me to prevent it from overflowing!
For almost eight years now, The Palace has been doing every important step to create, generate and provide a job for every qualified Filipino. But because of the ailing global economy, our efforts may not be enough...
...I really admire all of you- the talented and skilful Filipino youths—for living up to the expectation of our national hero! You are truly courageous and determined to continuously extend your horizon as you seek for your own place in this world whenever you feel that the Philippines is too small and overcrowded for you. This attitude has instantly made you the living heroes of our beloved nation!
How many Filipino children have been left hungry and thirsty for food and education, alike, hadn’t their nanay, tatay, ate, kuya, tiyo or tiya explored for and took better opportunities overseas? With the total inflow of US$10 billion in 2005, US$13 billion in 2006, US$14.4 billion in 2007, and US$15.9 billion remittances to the Philippines in 2008...
...you—the Global Filipinos are not just simply providing for your family back home, but you are also unconsciously contributing to the Philippine economy! ...and I salute you for this!
Amidst various trends and economic challenges of the modern day, well-developed nations in the world are still continuously craving for more knowledgeable and skilful workers because of labour shortage in their country. I am so glad because Filipinos still remain to be one of the few choices of Canada—particularly in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan; Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain as shown by the effective Memorandum of Agreement between the POEA and these countries.
Who can ever forget those 400 Filipino nurses who had gone to Japan thru JPEPA seven months ago, and underwent intensive training for six months in Nihongo? These successful nurses and caregivers had already found their way to their new workplace last November; and the POEA is still negotiating with the Japanese government for additional deployment next year. We are also very grateful to the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship for granting a total of 3,970 working visas to Filipinos for the period of July 2008 to March 2009.
The migration of the family of a Filipino blogger named Loida of 2L3B’s to Canada last May, as well as her and her husband’s immediate employment within a week of arrival in Ontario is another very good example. We also have another blogger- Chico who has been enjoying his dream job in Dubai since June 2009. We should also add Gasoline Dude on our list for receiving two job offers last May after being laid off from his previous job in Singapore on that same month. David Edward Santos of Geeky Thoughts who had moved to Kuala Lumpur last April is also one of them; as well as Joan Manalang—The Artist Chef who’s been savouring her adventures in Ho Chi Minh since May this year. We should also count the best luck of A.R.D.Y.E.Y. of ARDYEYTOLOGY in, who, after signing a job offer and consequently being denied of a work permit in Algeria because of his age, was still accepted with open arms in his old job in Doha!
Undeniably, the 2009 success stories of these Filipino Expats/OFW bloggers and non-bloggers would prove that our race is still the most sought workforce in the international arena! Global Filipinos, your English communication skills, as well as your expertise in various professions and trades are not just the only reason for this...
...you are, undoubtedly, armed with your strong faith in God! ...you are also furnished with your long-term, whole-hearted commitment to your job, your loyalty to your employer, your good relationship with your workmates and all the other admirable Filipino traits in the workplace, in general. These are, actually, the major reasons why these developed countries are insatiable—they wanted to hire more and more workers from the Philippines every year.
Now look at how the product exportation of that prawn company by the Red Sea and that poultry farm by the Flinder’s Ranges has succeeded! Quench your thirst with the sweet and safe drinking water from Al-Khobar- produced through reversed osmosis in a high-tech lab... don’t forget to browse and have a glance so you can appreciate the illustrations in that Malaysian children’s book which was released in the middle of this year... imagine how the Filipino music, and words soothe the exhausted muscles, pacify the aching nerves and inspire the disheartened souls on earth...
And there you are, Filipino bloggers and non-bloggers around the globe who are currently watching tonight’s event—live and online through the comfort of your own computers; we should thank our computer analyst and programmer based in the island of Palau for making all these wild world-wide-web things possible!
...and who said that while the Philippines is boasting for your 13.5% contribution to our Gross Domestic Product, she’s also been suffering from ‘brain drain’? Do you know that we could start calling it ‘brain gain’?; for as soon as those overseas Filipino students, or even those skilled temporary workers, get back to our country after months or years of intensive trainings and studies abroad, they can surely offer and share their expertise to every interested student back home.My friends and fellow 'netizens' of the web, the things I’ve just enumerated to you are only few, yet significant examples that show how Filipino expatriates and overseas workers sparkle like pieces of diamonds spangled around the globe! Believe me, you—yourselves, are our invaluable gift to the whole world!
How wonderful it is to note that Filipino bloggers across the globe have also been united and gained dauntless strength through this one-of-a-kind effort of KaBlogs Station...
You possess the greatest power and the absolute freedom to write what you think and how you feel; simply, it signifies that the true spirit of democracy is still flourishing until today!As the Icon of Democracy—the late ex-President Corazon Aquino—showed her motherly concern to the OFW’s, I promise to uphold her Executive Order number 126, and the Republic Act 7111 which was promulgated during her administration. Let your voices be heard. I encourage you to sustain your acts of heroism for our country not just within the pages of your powerful and influential blogs, but also in the foreign land where you’re working right now!
I trust, much more than I am expecting, that you will continue to help in building a strong nation and in shaping a peaceful world to live in! In your simplest way, spread the best news, promote goodwill, create and nurture friendship, reach out and inspire every Global Filipino—blogger or non-blogger—with your brilliant and lovely words.
I know you can do this, that's why I have decided to step out of this eminent throne in the Philippine government come June next year; of course after the much-awaited May 2010 elections. Honestly, I really feel secure to leave my office in 6 months time because I know that you- the Filipino expatriates and OFWs are there—whom I believe, are the real hope of our nation and the genuine gift to the whole world!