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10 June 2019

Members of the United Federation of Fil-Am Educators - Washington DC (UNIFFIED-DC) are having fun at the Migrant Workers Day celebration held at the Philippine Embassy on Saturday, 08 June 2019.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — "You toil tirelessly for the country. You work almost without rest, the way it is in America. So accept my congratulations on Filipino Migrant Workers Day. And saludo ako sa kapwa kong Pilipino. (And I salute my fellow Filipino)"

Thus were the final words in the heartfelt video message recorded by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte for Filipino migrant workers in the United States. The video was shown at the Opening Program for the first-ever Filipino Migrant Workers Day Open Househeld at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC on 8 June 2019 from10.00 am to 4.00 pm.

The opening program was led by Consul General Renato Pedro Villa, Labor Attaché Angela Librado-Trinidad and Welfare Officer Josephine Tobia. Aside from the President's message, there were also video greetings from Department of Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, and POEA Administrator Bernard P. Olalia.

"We are very pleased to be able to open the grounds of your Embassy today and to host this Open House not only to enjoy each other’s company, but also to be able to provide you the services that are available at the Chancery Annex," Ambassador Romualdez said in brief remarks to the participants as he joined the festivities during the course of the day.

The Embassy's day-long celebration was designed to celebrate Migrant Workers Day in the traditional Filipino spirit of fun, camaraderie and togetherness, where Filipino food and other cultural traditions were also showcased.

At the same time, the Embassy’s consular section was open to provide passport renewal services; and there were briefings on investment and business options, and entrepreneurship from the Trade and Agriculture Attachés.

Representatives from the Consular Section (including the Assistance-to-Nationals Unit), OWWA, Pag-Ibig Fund, Land Bank of the Philippines, and the Office of the Police Attaché provided counseling, registration, membership updating, and other services throughout the day. Officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Social Security System were likewise available for on-line consultation.

Consistent with the "Bayanihan ng mga Manggagawang Pinoy sa DMV" theme, there were booths set up by the Migrant Heritage Commission (MHC) and the United Federation of Fil-Am Educators (UNIFFIED) Washington DC & Maryland Chapters showcasing their organizations and activities, as well as Philippine culture and cuisine. The US-Philippines Society also had a table that shared the story of the bilateral efforts for the return of the Balangiga Bells to the Philippines.

Food for the potluck lunch were generously contributed by the US-Philippines Society, Bistro 1521, Matthew's Grill, Migrant Heritage Commission, CDC Holdings and Tito Al's 2AMarketing Center and Magnolia.

To celebrate Philippine heritage, there were cultural performances from the MHC and UNIFFIED. Bianca Camille Lopez and Ma. Rhina Paula Palma-Cruz, alumnae of the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers and now both singing as the Nightingales, made a special appearance and serenaded the crowd with folksongs and original Pilipino music.

There was also a Kiddie Corner that was manned by the children of Embassy staff. Visiting children were re-introduced to the Philippines and their cultural heritage; and the mosaic making activity was designed to underscore the need to work together and highlight the importance of conserving the fast-vanishing Philippine crocodile and pangolin.

Philippine global brands Philippine Airlines, PLDT USA, CDC Holdings,  and GMA PinoyTV provided give-away items for the participants. All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Smart Cargo, and Cargo Plus contributed raffle prizes.

Around 150 Filipino migrant workers from Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC participated in the event and availed themselves of the various services. These included teachers, health care workers, household workers, Filipino staffers in the World Bank/IMF & various foreign embassies, and other workers.

Celebrated annually on 7 June to commemorate the signing of Republic Act 8042, or the Philippine Migrant Workers Act, Filipino Migrant Workers Day is intended to recognize the significant contributions of Overseas Filipino Workers to the Philippine economy and society.

"As you heard in the messages of the President and other officials this morning, including Labor Secretary Bebot Bello, the Philippine government recognizes the individual and collective contributions of Filipino Migrant Workers. And I applaud the Embassy's Philippine Overseas Labor Office/OWWA (POLO/OWWA) for spearheading this great initiative," Ambassador Romualdez also said. ###

10 June 2019

Consul General Renato Pedro Villa (left) and Vice Consul Mylhyn Acosta (right), who led the passport services rendered for the day, pose for a photo with US-Philippines Society Executive Director Hank Hendrickson at the Chancery Annex lobby.

10 June 2019

Welfare Officer Josephine Tobia answers questions and explains OWWA services to kababayans during the Migrant Workers Day celebration on 08 June 2019.

10 June 2019

Exciting raffle prizes and giveaways made the celebration extra special for kababayans who were present during the whole day event.

10 June 2019

Consul General Renato Pedro Villa (left) and Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez (right) enjoy the festivities and cultural performances at the Chancery grounds.