The Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) and Overseas Workers Welfare Office (OWWA) will be holding a food and trade fair for a cause on May 1 to celebrate Labour and Migrant Workers Day.
Dubbed as “Tiange sa POLO-OWWA”, the celebration will showcase Filipino cuisine and various products like second hand clothing, dresses, shirts, shoes, bags, handicraft and other items.
Welfare officer Lenny Cleofas told Gulf Times that proceeds from the event would go to Filipinos in jail, those in the Deportation Centre, and other distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
Cleofas is urging those who are interested to sell their products for the one-day event. Some 60 booths (or tables) will be available at the venue and they will be charging QR100 for every booth.
Philippine embassy officials, led by Ambassador Crescente Relacion, have been invited to grace the trade fair. The country celebrates Migrant Workers Day every June 7 but Cleofas said it will be a joint activity on May 1.
“We can extend it if needed and we can also hold another one on June 7 and in December,” she said. They are inviting different Filipino communities in Qatar to visit and join the celebration at the POLO-OWWA compound.
The Migrant Workers Day recognises over 10mn OFWs worldwide for their valuable contribution to the country. It is learnt that the Philippines was ranked third among the top remittance receiving countries for 2012. First is India ($70bn) followed by China ($66bn) and then third is Philippines and Mexico ($24bn each).
Also known as “Araw ng Pasasalamat (Thanksgiving Day)”, the special day for OFWs also celebrate the signing into law of Republic Act 8042 or the Migrant Workers Act of 1995 under the administration of former president V Fidel Ramos.
Labour Day is a legal holiday and widely observed in the Philippines by millions of Filipino employees.
“It is an opportunity for OFWs to buy cheaper goods and they should take advantage of this. It will also be a day of bonding and rest for busy workers,” said Labour attaché Leopoldo De Jesus. “It is a simple activity for Filipinos in Qatar.”
POLO-OWWA is also planning to launch a business caravan dubbed as “Mag-impok Negosyo” on May 18 where financial institutions have been invited. These include representatives from banks, remittance centres and investors.
“From the exhibitors, our kababayans will get an idea on how to venture on possible livelihood projects or businesses when they decide to go back home,” he said.
These banks offer various loans and other financial assistance to current and returning OFWs. Many of them are encouraged to put up and run their own businesses.
The caravan aims to create awareness on the importance of saving money. Part of the programme includes a financial literacy seminar for OFWs.
Culture attaché Richard Billedo and embassy officials have expressed their full support to the event.
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