In a dialogue with Filipino community leaders held recently at the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) here, Pangilinan noted that in 2004 alone, the overall remittances of OFWs reached $8 billion, posting a 30 per cent increase from the figures recorded a year earlier. "These remittances have directly contributed to our country's gross domestic product and revenues, thus having a good effect on our country's economy," the senator said.
Describing the OFWs as the middle class sector of Philippine society, Pangilinan also updated the Filipino expatriates on the state of their country's political affairs, particularly with regard to the much-debated Charter Change movement.
After being passed by the House of Representatives to the Senate, Pangilinan said the decision on whether or not there will be a legislative action for the revision of the Philippine Constitution remains an "uphill battle in as far as the Senate is concerned". "Most senators believe that the answer is not in the form of government but in the system of governance. Even if we change the form of government from democratic to parliamentary but still have the same leaders, things will remain the same," he stressed.
Pangilinan also encouraged Filipino expatriates to actively influence the course of Philippine governance by taking part in the overseas absentee voting (OAV) in 2007. "The 2007 elections is a unique opportunity for Filipino citizens to make their presence felt amidst the political crisis in the Philippines by supporting or withdrawing support to decision-makers whom they think could or couldn't work towards the advancement of the country," he stated.
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