By Darryl John Esguerra

MEET-AND-GREET. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. joins thousands of Filipinos living and working in Germany in a gathering in Berlin on Tuesday (March 12, 2024). An estimated 35,000 Filipinos work in various industries in Germany, such as health care, information technology, hotel and hospitality, as well as in the academe, based on data from the Philippine Embassy in Berlin. (Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. assured Filipinos in Germany that the government is working tirelessly to ensure that all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are treated with dignity and respect.

Marcos, along with First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and the rest of his delegation, met with thousands of Filipinos living and working in the European nation on Tuesday night (Manila time) to conclude the second day of his three-day working visit in Berlin.

“We are working tirelessly to ensure that you are treated with the dignity and the respect that you deserve,” the President said in his meet-and-greet with the Filipino community.

“Through various programs and initiatives, we strive to protect your rights, your welfare. We strive to ensure your well-being and empowerment is assured,” he added, citing initiatives by the Department of Migrant Workers, such as the One Repatriation Command Center and the 24/7 OFW helpline 1348.

He also mentioned the government’s reintegration program for returning OFWs and educational assistance for their children.

According to the Philippine Embassy, about 35,000 Filipinos in Germany work in various industries, such as health care, information technology, hotel and hospitality, as well as in the academe.

The President also lauded the OFWs’ massive contributions to the Philippine economy.

“Your contributions to the Philippine economy over the years will not be forgotten. Bagong bayani (modern heroes) we call you, and rightly so,” he said.

According to Marcos, remittances from Filipinos abroad reached a record high last year, amounting to USD33.5 billion.

The Chief Executive, likewise, said Germany has been supportive of the Philippines in ensuring a secure and peaceful South China Sea, assuring OFWs that the government will not give up its claim in the disputed territories.

“Nagkakaproblema po tayo ay may ibang bansa sinasabi ‘yung ating teritoryo ay kanila pala. Ngunit asahan ninyo hindi po tayo papayag dahil maliwanag na maliwanag naman na ito ay bahagi ng Pilipinas. (We are experiencing issues. There are countries who claim that our territory is theirs. But expect us not to agree because it is very, very clear that that is part of Philippine territory.),” he said. (PNA)