BERN, Switzerland – The newly-formed European Network of Filipino Diaspora (ENFid) sent its representatives to take part in the 2nd Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora in Manila.
The ENFid group is led by its chairman, Gene Alcantara of the United Kingdom. The other members will come from the countries of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Italy.
Alcantara will report on ENFiD’s formation after a Europe-wide summit held in Rome in September last year, and on the group’s formal setting-up in Valletta, Malta last month.
“We will tell the story of how Filipinos in Europe shared common experiences and learnings and are trying to apply them in building a strong Filipino diaspora in the EU,” Alcantara said in explaining ENFiD’s participation in the summit.
ENFid representatives will present to the global gathering the Rome Declaration of 2012, as well as ENFiD’s constitution and bylaws. A board of officers along with advisers was also constituted in the Malta meeting.
“We Filipinos in Europe are already 800,000-strong and rising, and we are beginning to speak with one voice,” he added. The biggest Filipino populations in Europe are in the UK, Italy, and Spain.
But the ENFiD chair emphasized the ties that continue to bind the Filipinos overseas to the home country.
“Europe is already our adopted home. But together we still remit annually up to 3.35 billion US dollars to the home country. We are the new Europeans, and yet we are forever Philippine,” Alcantara added.
ENFiD delegates will also participate in workshops on diaspora philanthropy and medical missions; global legal assistance and advocacy; arts and culture exchanges and tourism initiatives; as well as on overseas Filipino returns and reintegration; and on diaspora investment and entrepreneurship.
ENFiD was started last year as an international networking association that will propagate the sense of Filipino “nationhood” away from the home country; inculcate a strong sense of shared destiny and aspirations; and be a catalyst in promoting resolutions to issues and arising problems among Filipinos in Europe.
ENFiD will register this year as a regional voluntary organization in Malta, which is part of the European Union.