‘Overseas Filipinos need Manila’s help’
VISITING PHILIPPINES VICE-PRESIDENT PUTS EMPHASIS ON WELFARE OF THE DISTRESSED
Philippine Vice-President Jejomar Binay began his three-day trip to the UAE yesterday with a visit to His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces.
“Shaikh Mohammad said he would very much like to visit the Philippines in the future,” Binay said. “We also talked about potential investment opportunities in areas of power and infrastructure in the Philippines,” he added.
Binay, who is running for president in the May elections, also met distressed Filipinas being temporarily sheltered at the Philippine Embassy.
“I deem it important to talk personally with our migrant workers and check how they are doing. Just like our kababayans [compatriots] in the countryside, our Overseas Filipino Workers [OFWs] need the attention and constant care from our government,” he said.
“Distance shouldn’t hamper our government leaders from reaching out to Filipinos working and living abroad or outside the metro. In fact, it should encourage them to leave their offices once in a while to see and hear first-hand the plight of our people,” he added.
In a statement for the Filipino community in the UAE, Binay said that during his previous five-year stint as presidential adviser for OFW Concerns, he tried to give back to overseas Filipinos’ contributions to the Philippines “by coming up with programmes that would best serve your needs”.
“This included helping in repatriation costs of OFWs, addressing complaints against recruiters, employers and agents, and helping OFWs implicated in criminal cases in communicating with various state agencies on their behalf,” he said.
Binay will also be meeting the Filipino community in Dubai today and tomorrow, including attending a mass wedding ceremony at the Philippine consulate, talking to parents, students, and faculty of Far Eastern Private School, before ending his visit on Friday.
He will also be dining with distressed Filipinas under the Philippine labour office’s care in Dubai to note their concerns.
Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes clarified that the visit is not part of the election campaign since the campaign period for presidential aspirants starts only on February 9.
“He is visiting in his capacity as vice-president. He’s not here to campaign. He’s here to talk to Filipinos overseas,” Cortes told Gulf News. Binay is accompanied by his daughter, Senator Nancy, his son, Jejomar Jr, and his official delegation.