New execs as biggest OFW group in Saudi marks 5th year

A new set of officers has been elected to lead the biggest organization of overseas Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia during the group’s 5th founding anniversary recently.

The election and induction of the board of trustees and officers of the 7,000-strong United OFW Association were held at the compound of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.

The election was conducted under the supervision of chairman Joey Badong. It was assisted by Ed Estrada as vice-chairman and commissioners Tess Javier and Berna Degamo.

The new trustees are Frank Naval (chairman); Francis Oca (vice-chairman); Soledad Bahaynon, board secretary; Alex Bello, Jun Nacion, Manuel “Bong” Amora, Doming de Palma, Ding Manalo, Ping Gabriel, Dennis Porlares, Herman Honrado, Mohammad Eli Mua, Dante Guina, Gob Dimalotang, and Habib Batua.

From the elected trustees, the following executive officers were appointed: Mua, national chairman; Nacion, national vice-chairman; Manalo, finance officer; Porlares, administrative officer; Amora, information officer; Dimalotang, public relations officer; De Palma, logistic officer; Honrado, business manager; Batua, auditor; and Badong, the only non-trustee, is campaign manager.

During his keynote speech, Consul Romulo Victor Israel, Jr. took note of the transformation of the socio-economic organization which was founded in Riyadh on July 10, 2003 not only in terms of numbers but more so in the quality of its members, leaders and programs.

Also present during the induction ceremonies was Labor Attaché Rustico SM dela Fuente, who graced the occasion by awarding the Certificates of Appreciation to the guests, outgoing officers, and members of the organizing committees.

Outgoing national chairman Engr. Frank Naval expressed his thanks and appreciation to all the members and officers for their full support and participation in the activities and programs of the organization during the last five years.

Likewise, he also thanked prominent community leaders who attended the celebrations like Virgilio “Boggs” Bolor, president of PGBI; Cesar Gervacio, president of Royal Guardians; Flor Coronado former president of MKB; Ritchie Civil, president of ALCA; Danny Bendoy, president of Dabao; Engr. Faizal Sharque, founding president of the Filipino Retirees Overseas Movement; Engr. Ronnie Ulip, founder and advisor of GBI; Vouchard Arzadon, founder of Guardians Brotherhood Inc. in Al Hasa, 400 kilometers east of Riyadh; and Mario Ben of Kapitiran sa Gitnang Silangan.

Strategic partnership

Mua, the national chairman-elect, said there are three tasks the group should aim for and these are: “strategic partnership with all groups and agencies concerned with the plight of OFWs; a stronger and productive partnership with the Philippine Embassy; and greater involvement in improving the economic and cultural relation between Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

“Without your true involvement, the affair could not have been historic – yes, “historic” because it showed how thousand of OFW can be “united” for a cause with joy,” Mua said.

The group’s adviser, Dr. Carlito Astillero, 1990 Most Outstanding Filipino in Saudi Arabia awardee and 1992′s Bagong Bayani awardee, congratulated the elected trustees and officers.

“We all pray that United OFW will continue to inspire and unite all Filipinos in diaspora,” Astillero said.

Meanwhile, the celebration of the group’s anniversary also featured intermission numbers in the form of songs and cultural presentations provided by student performing artists from Elite International School and Millennium International School, under the direction of Ritchie Civil of the Artists’ League for Culture and Arts (ALCA).

An overview of the “Search for Miss United OFW World 2009” was also presented. The search will be one of the United OFW’s main social events that are going to be held in Manila next year. It will be participated by the prettiest among lady OFWs worldwide.

United OFW emcee Engr. Elmer Aquino acknowledged the sponsors, donors, patrons and support groups, some of which are the Philippine Embassy, Philippine Overseas Labor Office, Nadec, Dajen Restaurant, The Filipino Channel, Arab News, Abante Middle East Edition, Snacks-pack, Batterjee & Bros. Co., General Philippine International School, Royal Guardians, PGBI-GBHFI, ALCA, MIS, EIS, Partido Pandaigdigang Pilipino, Mr. Sonny Bello, Engr. Faizal Sharque, Engr. Ronnie Ulip, Nilda Ballesteros and the Filipina nurses from King Abdullah Medical Complex.

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