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Thousands of OFWs arrive for Christmas

Rudy Santos - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are busy coping with the arrival of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), including those from Afghanistan, in time for the traditionally joyous Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Many of the OFWs in Afghanistan were earlier hesitant to come home this season after the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) issued a work or OFW-deployment ban on the country, according to Manny Geslani, spokesman for the Samahang Pilipino in Afghanistan (SPA).

Geslani added that the OFWs had second thoughts because they may not be able to go back to work if the ban continues.

At the terminals, many returning OFWs are seen filling up the arrival and luggage conveyor areas as they wait for their balikbayan (repatriate) boxes and checked-in baggage that are usually filled with pasalubong (a gift or souvenir brought home by a Filipino who travels).

SPA chairman Roberto Tabaloc said they are thankful to POEA administrator Hans Cacdac for not enforcing the ban in time for Christmas, pointing out that the deployment ban earlier caused confusion among Filipinos in Kabul and the US bases.

He added that many of the OFWs in Afghanistan posted in their Facebook accounts the joy and happiness of being able to fly to Manila and fly back to their job sites.

Tabaloc pointed out that many OFWs look forward to spending time with their families and loved ones, and to share in the Filipino Christmas tradition of Simbang Gabi (dawn mass), hanging bright and colorful lanterns, and partaking of the sumptuous lechon, kaldereta, puto-bumbong and bibingka.

Giant international contractors and the Afghan government are hiring more Filipinos for the massive development projects aided by the USAID, EU Commission, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Tabaloc said.

Most of the Filipino workers in Afghanistan are recruited in Dubai by companies that prefer Filipinos because of their ability to speak English and read engineering plans.

 

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR

FILIPINO CHRISTMAS

HANS CACDAC

MANNY GESLANI

MOST OF THE FILIPINO

NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION

ROBERTO TABALOC

SAMAHANG PILIPINO

SIMBANG GABI

TABALOC

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