(Screengrab from RTVM)

MANILA – House Speaker Martin Romualdez expressed his gratitude to the Filipino community and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for their significant contributions to the Philippine economy and for boosting the country’s international image during President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s meeting with the Filipino community at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey late Sunday afternoon (US time).

"The warm welcome and expression of strong support extended by OFWs certainly serve not only as an inspiration to our President but also an affirmation of the overwhelming mandate he carries as he engages with other world leaders to articulate our country's position on some of the critical issues facing the world today such as climate change, food security and rule of law," Romualdez said.

The meeting came ahead of the President’s participation in the 77th United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York set on Tuesday (US time).

Romualdez, who is among the Philippine delegation accompanying Marcos, assured the Filipino community in the US of the full and unwavering support of the lower chamber for the Chief Executive’s programs aimed at improving the country's economy and making life better for citizens.

"When our economy is buffeted by external factors, your remittances help cushion the pressure that has been driving down the value of our peso with the unfortunate consequence of increasing prices of basic commodities," he noted.

Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed remittances from Filipinos working abroad increased by 2.3 percent year-on-year to reach USD3.17 billion (around PHP181 billion) in September last year.

The US remained the biggest source of dollar remittances followed by Singapore. Other major sources of cash inflow include Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Taiwan, Qatar, and South Korea.

"But more than anything, the distinction our Filipino compatriots receive in the United States for their exemplary contributions to society provide us with a priceless sense of pride as a nation, he said.

The Washington Post also reported that Filipinos in the US are highly educated, with nearly half holding a bachelor's or postgraduate degree, with a median annual household income of USD90,400 (around PHP5.8 million). (PNA)