Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 31, 2007-OFW Congress-Riyadh, a group participated by various organizations in Riyadh made an appeal to Filipino Community leaders in a meeting held at Al Mutlaq, Hotel on March 30, 2007 urging their members who are registered voters to Go Out and be part of the 2nd Overseas Absentee Voting exercise that will commence on April 14 to May 14, 2007.
The meeting dubbed as “Voters Education Forum” focuses on the importance of selecting good candidates that possess leadership qualities so with identifying their position on certain issues more particularly those relevant to OFW issues and concerns.
Profiles of the 36 senatorial bets declared as official candidates of the Comelec were likewise presented to attendees.
Manuel “Bong” Amora, Secretary General of OFWC during the presentation give emphasis that the fight has not yet ended when the OAV was enacted into law. Amora said ”the fight must continue; our real battle is in the arena of the Hall of Congress where the voice of the OFWs can be heard”; he added that “it is not just the right to vote but to be voted upon, for OFWs to get involved in shaping our country to move forward”.
Mr. Romeo Sinamban of Capampangan Riyadh Workers Association, Engr. Mohammad Mua of the Union Muslim Association together with Engr. Faisal Sharque, a former OFW Party List group nominee and presently the head of Filipino Retirees Employees Overseas Movement, jointly made an appeal among Overseas Filipinos for unity and should join hands together to pursue the OFW dream of having a true representation in Congress.
OFWC President Mr. Alex Veloso Bello made an announcement that Overseas Filipinos using the resources of electronic messaging created an e-group named “Partido Pangdaigdigang Pilipino”, an online forum primarily formed for a purpose of bringing the voice of overseas Filipinos in putting up a national party for the OFW Sector. PPP e-group is gaining more members worldwide. It is a brainchild of Engr. Jun Aguilar, chairman of Philippine based Filipino Migrant Workers Group, a former OFW employed as a technical analyst at the King Abdul Aziz Military Academy in Saudi Arabia and presently a successful businessman at home.
It was also included in the presentation the role of the Filipino Community in Riyadh in the 1st OAV exercise in which the “Spirit of Volunteerism” has proved that unity can be achieved through the participation of the various communities in overseeing peaceful and orderly conduct of the election process.
However, the group after intense deliberation arrived into conclusion t
hat the role of the community in the next electoral exercise will focus on safeguarding the sanctity of the ballots to ensure an honest conduct of the election at the Philippine Embassy ground.
Incumbent President Mr. Alex Veloso Bello during the said forum moved for an on the spot election for a new set of OFWC officers. However, majority of the participating organizations and members of the Executive Council unanimously deferred the motion for the reason that there are more important issues to tackle rather than a change of leadership.
OFW Congress-Riyadh was founded in Year 1998. The original 21 Executive Council members were elected into office among community organizations that were formed by parties. The election and the efforts to make it a reality were unmistakably a show of unity among community organizations in Riyadh. For four election days spread over two weeks, thousands lined up to exercise their right of suffrage, whose votes took volunteers many nights, in fact, weeks to tabulate and the rest is history.
As an advocacy group OFWC passed a number of resolutions and recommendations on national issues pertains to OFW concerns. Though it was not properly recognized and acknowledge by those in sitting authorities yet a number of its recommendations were heard and acted upon by the past and present administration.
Past Presidents of OFWC were Mr. Alexander Sanchez, Engr. Isagani Manalo and Mr. Joey Badong.
At the opening of the program proper, a PowerPoint presentation titled “OAV Reminiscing” was presented. It showed how OFWs fought for the OAV bill and the significant role of the OFWs in Saudi Arabia that made contribution in the history of the passage of Overseas Absentee Voting Law that lasted for 15 years.