OFW MODEL FAMILY. President Rodrigo Duterte shares a light moment with one of the awardees of the 2019 Model Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Family of the Year Award (MOFYA) during the awarding ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on November 28, 2019. Duterte pledged to meet the needs of overseas Filipino workers by creating more work and livelihood opportunities for them in the country. (Presidential Photo)

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to meet the needs of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) by creating more work and livelihood opportunities for them in the country.

The President made the vow, as he acknowledged the OFW’s significant contributions to the country, as well as their ultimate sacrifices for their families.

“Let me assure you that in return, we, in government, will continue to ensure that your efforts to uplift the lives of your families shall not be put in vain,” he said during the ceremonial conferment of the 2019 Model OFW Family of the Year (MOFYA).

“The government’s ultimate goal [for] OFWs is to [provide] them sustainable work and livelihood opportunities in our country. So someday, somehow, this will remain as one of the top priorities of my government,” Duterte added.

Duterte led the awarding of the 2019 MOFYA at Malacañan’s Heroes Hall on Thursday night.

Spearheaded by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), the MOFYA acknowledges the sacrifices of Filipino migrants overseas and their invaluable contributions to give their families a better life.

The outstanding achievements were given to engineer Alvin Tan and family (Entrepreneurship), and engineer Wilfredo Quindoy and family (Community Project).

Declared national winners were Josephine Jasa and family (land-based category), and Captain Angel Abesamis and family (sea-based category).

Duterte praised the OWWA and the Labor department for recognizing the OFWs through an annual search that showcases the workers’ best practices, despite the challenges they need to face while they are away from the country and their loved ones.

He acknowledged that being apart from a family “demands great emotional endurance.”

“The annual search is a showcase of the best practices on how to nurture OFW family despite the distance and challenges, on how their success resonates with the rest of society,” Duterte said.

“It is truly admirable that despite the absence of the important family member because he or she has to work in another country, the family remains solid and intact,” he added.

The number of OFWs was estimated at 2.3 million, as of September 2018, according to the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

OFW cash remittances jumped 7.5 percent to USD2.581 billion in July from USD2.401 billion in 2017, and by 12.71 percent from June 2019’s USD2.29 billion, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas reported in September.

Duterte thanked the Filipino migrant workers for their accomplishments and for being “an inspiration to all Filipinos.”

“Let me take this opportunity to acknowledge your impact on our country’s progress, not only in terms of your invaluable contribution to the economy, but also [in showcasing] the skills and talents of the Filipino to the international [community],” the President said.

“Now, more than ever, we need you, the OFWs and your families, to take part in our nation-building efforts. I thus call on you to carry [on] with [your] pursuits and aspirations as you continue to make our country proud,” he added. (PNA)