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MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. welcomed Saturday the announcement of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) that a first Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) will open in Thailand.

DMW Secretary Susan Ople shared the development but did not disclose other details during Marcos' meeting with the Filipino community at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Hotel.

In his speech, Marcos praised Ople for taking the initiative to establish the new POLO.

"Malaking bagay ‘yan at magiging mas madali lahat ng mga kailangan ninyong gawin (It's a big deal because it would be easier for you to do the things you need)," he told overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"Kaya’t talagang maaasahan natin itong si Secretary Toots [Ople] dahil matagal na niyang adbokasiya ‘yan, matagal na niyang trabaho ‘yan, ‘yung tumutulong sa atin (We can really rely on Secretary Toots because it is her advocacy to help us)," Marcos added.

POLO, which is now under the supervision of the DMW, serves as an overseas operating arm in the implementation of labor policies and programs for the protection of OFWs.

Thailand is home to some 30,000 Filipinos, according to the data from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Majority of the OFWs in Thailand are employed as English teachers and in the industries of hotels, restaurants and tourism-related establishments, according to Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Millicent Cruz-Paredes.

Marcos guaranteed that his administration would work hard to provide OFWs with full protection and assistance while expressing gratitude for their trust and support.

"Kaya’t kami’y nagpapasalamat sa inyong lahat. Muli, kagaya ng aking nasabi ako ay sinumpa ko na isusukli sa inyong suporta ay ang pagpaganda ng buhay ng bawat Pilipino at pagpaganda sa minamahal nating Pilipinas (We are grateful to all of you. Again, I promise to pay you back by giving each Filipino a comfortable life and bringing progress to our beloved Philippines)," Marcos said. (PNA)