Marcos skips Go Negosyo event, gives P200,000 to 9 OFWs with ‘inspiring stories’

Job Manahan and Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 03 2022 05:12 PM

 People inquiries about overseas job opportunities at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) at the Blas Ople Building in EDSA Quezon City on September 2, 2022. Jonathan L. Cellona, ABS-CBN News
People inquiries about overseas job opportunities at the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) at the Blas Ople Building in EDSA Quezon City on September 2, 2022. Jonathan L. Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Saturday skipped the Go Negosyo Summit dedicated to celebrate its 17th anniversary, but noted in his speech the importance of the contribution of migrant workers and their role in reviving the pandemic-hit economy.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual read Marcos' message on his behalf, which described overseas Filipino workers (OFW) as modern day heroes. Malacanang has yet to respond to queries on the President's absence.

Marcos urged OFWs to consider opening small businesses to “generate additional income to support their needs.”

"It is my hope that you will join the summit with an open mind, allowing yourselves to widen your options for income-generation and explore opportunities in the Philippines as an alternative for employment," his speech read. 

"In today's activities, we aim to make entrepreneurship as an avenue where we can help OFWs and their families."

"We hope that through entrepreneurship, our OFWs will now have the option to come back home with the ultimate goal of making working abroad a choice rather than a necessity," noted the Chief Executive. 

“We will continue to pursue initiatives that will ensure your well-being and develop anew the skills that the global workforce requires. At the same time, we will open up more and better opportunities for you at home so that you can help us in writing a new and vibrant chapter for our great nation.”

The President also noted how they helped the country's economy in times of crises. 

"Your contributions to the Philippine economy and labor force, in general, are crucial elements to our trajectory toward lasting prosperity. In our country's most trying times, you remained as a solid foundation of our economy, ensuring the generation of remittances to support your loved ones and keep our country afloat. For all this, I thank you."

Marcos earlier vowed to work hard to improve the conditions locally so OFWs can return home. 

9 INSPIRING STORIES

First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, who was present during the event, announced that the organization's "Kabayan" awardees will be given P200,000 each, courtesy of the Office of the President. 

The 9 OFWs who were recognized for their “compelling journeys” as migrant workers, Araneta-Marcos said on Saturday.

The Kabayan Awards recognize some of the “most inspiring OFWs” who have “compelling journeys” as migrant workers, according to a statement from the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (GoNegosyo).

“Mayroon siyang bonus sa mga awardees na tig-P200,000 each,” Araneta-Marcos said.

The Kabayan Awards is part of the Kabayan 2022 OFW Summit, a GoNegosyo initiative that helps “provide business opportunities and investment matches” for OFWs.

GoNegosyo founder Joey Concepcion said the event aims to “honor the OFWs who have successfully transitioned into entrepreneurship.”

“Many of our OFWs can become catalysts but they will need the help of our big brothers,” Concepcion said, referring to big businesses and veteran entrepreneurs.

“To become their mentors is critical, to become their champions is a must,” he said.

“The President has the commitment of the private sector that we will continue to fight against poverty,” he said.

So far, there are about 1.77 million OFWs, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.