123rd Philippine Independence Day in UAE: A salute to overseas Filipino ‘wonders’

Dubai - Filipino healthcare workers’ “warmth, smiles and outgoing personality” have become even more valuable amid the trying times brought about by the pandemic.

By Kirstin Bernabe-Santos

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Published: Sun 13 Jun 2021, 1:16 AM

Last updated: Sun 13 Jun 2021, 2:31 AM

The 123rd Philippine Independence Day celebration on Saturday may not have had the fiesta parades and folk dance extravaganza it was famous for, but it was nonetheless a grand festivity — one that celebrated the Filipino potential.

During a special ceremony at the Philippine Consulate in Dubai, there were no singers and dancers: Instead, there were UAE industry leaders and chief executives of different nationalities who all lauded how Filipinos can rise through the ranks and fulfil their duties ‘perfectly’.

“Why do you call yourselves overseas Filipino workers (OFWs, a term the Philippines use for all its citizens working abroad)?” asked Ravi Chandran, CEO of Liwa Minor, who is also one of the recipients of the Independence Day Friendship Award given out during the event.

“We should change the meaning of it (and turn) OFW into overseas Filipino ‘wonders’.”

Chandran, who has met and employed thousands of Filipinos in the UAE, has experienced firsthand how OFWs grow, develop and realise their potential as they do their jobs.

“There are so many opportunities here (in the UAE). And we all know that Filipinos are brilliant. They have the knowledge and the right attitude and integrity. All they need is the drive, the courage and confidence. That little push will make them leaders.”

Dr Jean Marc Gauer, CEO of RAK Hospital, who’s also a recipient of the Independence Day Friendship Award, was all praise for Filipino frontliners. “A good 50 per cent of our hospital staff come from the Philippines and I agree that these are people with so much potential. They humbly do their job, and do it in a perfect way, with their warmth,” he said.

Filipino healthcare workers’ “warmth, smiles and outgoing personality” have become even more valuable amid the trying times brought about by the pandemic, he added.

Chandran and Dr Gauer are two advisers of the new not-for-profit organisation Philippine Partnership Circle (PhilPac), which was established under the patronage of Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana.

PhilPac seeks to support community groups, create cultural linkages, and build partnerships with government authorities, education and health institutions, corporations and business leaders — all to open up opportunities that will help Filipinos reach their full potential.

Three other PhilPac advisers were recognised during the Independence Day celebration: Sharihan Al Mashary, former GM in Emaar Hospitality Group; Dr Raphael Nagel, chairman of Abrahamic Business Circle; and Graham Cooke, chairman of World Luxury Group.


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