FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday urged Filipinos working in Hong Kong and Macau to invest their earnings in the Philippines to secure the future of their families back home.
Cayetano made the call on Sunday during separate town hall meetings with members of the Filipino Community in Hong Kong and Macau.
“Over the years, you and our other kababayans abroad have been investing in the future of our country,” he told those who attended the meetings at the St. Joseph the Worker Church in Macau and at the Duke of Windsor Auditorium in Hong Kong.
“Your remittances serve as investments not only in education and housing but also for the future of your loved ones back home,” Cayetano said as he thanked the close to 219,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong and the 30,000 in Macau for their remittances.
Cayetano said he expects more overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to take advantage of the economic boom and start investing their savings in the Philippines, citing the 6.9 percent growth in the third quarter of the year.
The DFA chief also urged overseas Filipinos to continue to acquire new skills to enable them to have access to better-paying jobs.
“I encourage you to attend regular skills enhancement and language trainings here in Hong Kong or Macau and even back in the Philippines as this will surely open better employment opportunities for you,” he said.
“President (Rodrigo) Duterte knows very well the important role our overseas workers play and this is precisely the reason why he wants us to not only look after your interests and welfare but to also provide you with comfort and convenience,” he added.
Starting in January next year, OFWs can apply for passports that will be valid for 10 years. This would lead to a more efficient processing of multi-year work contracts for overseas workers.
“This is one of the reforms that responds to your needs as overseas workers and I assure you that the Duterte administration will strive hard to ensure that all your rights and interests are protected,” Cayetano said.