Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, in a video message, profusely thanked and praised Filipino workers and frontliners all over the world for unrelentlessly performing their job to serve their country and their respective communities amidst the COVID 19 pandemic, during the virtual Labor Day program organized by the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Berlin. He said, “Kasama ng mga mahal nating overseas workers, kayo ay nabibilang sa hanay ng mga bagong bayani ng ating panahon. Mula sa aking puso, maraming-maraming salamat sa inyong kabayanihan..”

Around 100 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Germany participated in a virtual celebration of the 113th Philippine Labor Day celebration dubbed Talakayan para sa Manggagawang Kabayan via Zoom on 01 May 2021.

Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Theresa B. Dizon-de Vega likewise addressed the participants while Deputy Consul General Emil Fernandez of the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Frankfurt read the Labor Day message of H.E. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Labor Attache Delmer Cruz of POLO Berlin welcomed the participants by providing a brief history of Labor Day and stressed that the event is primarily organized for the workers. “Ang araw na ito ay araw ninyo. Sasagutin namin ang inyong mga katanungan na may kinalaman sa inyong mga pang araw-araw na karanasan bilang mga manggagawa sa ibayong dagat. Pakikinggan namin ang inyong mga puna, puri, at mungkahi ukol sa polisiya, programa, at serbisyo ng pamahalaan para sa mga OFWs”, he said.

The Talakayan answered the queries of the workers on the government’s various programs and services via simultaneous breakout sessions that included consular services with the Embassy´s Deputy Chief of Mission Lilibeth Pono and the Consulate´s Consul Rogelio Villanueva; labor counselling with Labor Attache Delmer Cruz and Assistant Labor Attache Delia Palomar; OWWA membership and Alagang Kabayan Cash Assistance with Welfare Officer Sylvia Gabriel; OEC and Abot-Kamay ang Pagtulong (AKAP) with Mr. Rene Mangune; and SSS and Pag-IBIG programs with Milan-based Ms. Mary Jessielyn Sia and Ms. Mylene Lontoc.

A plenary dialogue followed the break-out discussions, during which the proposed creation of the Department of Overseas Filipinos, the 5,000 cap on the deployment of health care workers and the conduct of a labor education seminar were discussed.

The Labor Day program likewise featured a special segment that celebrated OWWA´s 39th Anniversary. Speaking live from Manila, Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac provided updates on the most recent accomplishments of OWWA such as the job fair and free food, transport, and accommodation as well as recent developments on the quarantine protocols for arriving OFWs in the Philippines. Welfare Officer Sylvia Gabriel, along with OIC Director of OWWA Management Information System  Rosanna Siray also launched the OFW e-Card. As a surprise gift to 194 OFWs who applied for OWWA membership from February 2020 to April 2021, their OFW e-cards will be delivered to them for free. Most participants stayed tune for the entire duration of the program as they awaited surprise prizes that included OWWA membership loyalty, early bird registrants, trivia quizzes, and virtual raffle.

The program, hosted by AS Elena Querijero, AS Rene Mangune, and LH Racquel Helena Abagat, ended with a short closing message from Assistant Labor Attache Delia Palomar thanking the participants and resource persons for their active participation during the event.