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Duterte wishes OFWs ‘fruitful, meaningful lives’

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resident Rodrigo Duterte’s Christmas wish for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) is to have a “fruitful and meaningful lives.”

In a special video played before distressed OFWs in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, the President extended his Yuletide greetings to them and took the opportunity to thank them for their hard work for their respective families, loyalty to the country, and support for the government.

“More than anything, we want you home. We want you (to) live fruitful and meaningful lives close to your loved ones,” he said in the video message, which was warmly received by the OFWs.

“Maraming salamat po. Hinding-hindi ko kayo malilimutan. Maligayang Pasko at Bagong Taon (Thank you to all of you. I will never forget you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year),” he added.

OFWs all over the world are estimated at 2.3 million, according to a 2018 survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading oil exporter, is among the top destination countries, accounting for 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million migrant Filipinos worldwide, the PSA poll showed.

Duterte, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs, gave Christmas presents to the distressed OFWs in Al Khobar on Tuesday through their representatives, Malacañang said in a press statement on Wednesday.

“The female and male wards at the Al Khobar shelters were given care packages and special financial assistance,” the Palace said.

“Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs (Undersecretary Robert Borje), Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola, and Ambassador Adnan Alonto handed over the care products to the female and male wards awaiting repatriation,” it added.

Borje assured OFWs that the President has “continuing concern” for the plight of Filipinos working abroad, Malacañang said.

He guaranteed that the Duterte administration is “working relentlessly to address the concerns of OFWs and strives to improve the economic condition in the Philippines to create more jobs.”

“The President’s representative (Borje) relayed the message of the Chief Executive for his continuing commitment to ensure the welfare of OFWs,” Malacañang said.

After meeting with female and male wards at the Al Khobar shelters, Borje and Arriola had a dialogue with members of the Filipino community at the International Philippine School.

Borje also serves as Duterte’s special envoy to Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

He was sent to North Africa and the Middle East to assess the situation of Filipinos in the regions. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)

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