FVR ordered embassies to look after OFWs

By August 6, 2022Out of the Fire

By Gonzalo Duque


WE are saddened by the sudden departure of our beloved President Fidel V. Ramos, whose presidency we had the privilege of serving as Director and Deputy Administrator of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

What was very significant during those times was the problem of our overseas Filipino workers around the world, especially in countries where there were big concentration of OFWs, left attended by different embassies.

It was during that time that the migrant workers’ rule was very important because ambassadors were not very familiar on how to treat our OFWs. They thought that this was not part of their job.

But it was FVR and Speaker Joe de Venecia, both sons of Pangasinan, who directed the ambassadors and different embassy officials to take care of our overseas Filipino workers.

In fact, the OFWs were first known as Overseas Contract Workers (OCWs) but the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) changed their nomenclature  and  termed   them   as  Overseas Filipino Workers, instead of the usual OCWs.

It is the duty of the different embassies to take care of all Filipino citizens with whatever problems they have in their respective posts. Thanks to FVR for recognizing this need.
That problem was seen by our past lawmakers who crafted a law for the merger of the POEA, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the DOLE offices attached to the embassies that were put under the newly created Department of Migrant Workers Welfare headed by Secretary Susan Ople to ensure better attention and protection to our hardworking OFWs.

The last time I saw FVR was when Pangasinan Day was celebrated for the first time at the Sison Auditorium, which was made possible when we researched (as chair of an ad hoc committee tasked to determine the founding day of Pangasinan) when we found out that our province was born on April 5, 1580.

FVR then was the province’s special guest and incidentally that occasion gave special focus to migrant workers of which Pangasinan has plenty of spread all over the world to this day.
We cannot forget FVR. We’re so proud of him as he’s the only one from Pangasinan who made it to the highest office of the land. And his administration was marked by stable  peace and order, progress and prosperity.

The period from 1992 to 1998, during the reign of FVR made the Philippines as haven of world investments, enough to catapult the Philippines as rising economic tiger in Asia, from one that was once called a sick man in Asia, to the envy of our neighbors.
It would perhaps take another 100 years or more before we can see another Pangasinense steps into Malacanang as president.

FVR first distinguished himself as a career military officer who saw action in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, where tales of his heroism in the face of dangers were aplenty.

I was a friend of FVR and also his late sister, Leticia Shahani and the latter’s son, Ranjit Shahani, former vice governor of Pangasinan, former congressman of the Sixth District and later former board member, who is a career diplomat himself like his mother.
Rest in peace, Mr. President! And thank you!

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Upon our suggestion in this column, Mayor Belen issued an executive order forming a core committee that will prepare year-long activities for Dagupan City’s 75th year of cityhood, naming me as member.

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The resolution passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Dagupan by a vote of 7-5, interposing no objection to the expansion project in Barangay Tapuac of the Eternal Gardens is not only worthless but also a toothless resolution.

That resolution put forward by the seven-man new majority in the SP was only an exercise in futility, given the fact that it is a mere resolution and a resolution, as we all know, only  expresses the sense of that body on a particular matter or issue.

There’s no need for Mayor Belen Fernandez to veto the resolution. All that she can do is to ignore it so that the residents of Barangay Tapuac can sleep in peace in the confines of their homes.

Since it is not the sentiment of the whole Sanggunian, it may do well if Mayor Belen stops the project to abate a big nuisance and protect her people from harm.

As the massive backfilling of the entire 3.5 hectare fishponds supposedly titled under the name of the Eternal Gardens will result into unending floods in Tapuac, the mayor has all the power under the law to abate a nuisance that would greatly affect her people.

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