Ambassador Baja speaking before the Filipino Community Leaders in Switzerland
Filipino community leaders attendees
Philippine Embassy holds Annual Meeting
of FilCom Leaders in Switzerland
Philippine Embassy convened the Annual Meeting of the leaders of
various Filipino organizations in Switzerland on 11 January 2014.
In his welcome message, Ambassador Baja expressed appreciation to the
leaders for the full support and cooperation they have always extended
to the Philippine Embassy. In particular, he thanked the leaders for
their support during the visit of President Benigno Aquino III to
Switzerland in January 2013 to attend the World Economic Forum; and
their positive and immediate response in giving assistance to the
victims of Typhoon Haiyan and the Bohol and Cebu earthquake.
Ambassador Baja commended the Filipino community for their various
fund-raising activities for the typhoon victims, which generated
approximately CHF500,000.00 (P2.5 million). He commented that the
outpouring of support from the Swiss and the international community
stemmed from the excellent reputation Filipinos have earned as overseas
workers, their dependability, honesty and trustworthiness.
He called on the leaders to maintain the spirit of unity, particularly
amidst the challenges that currently beset the country, and to rise
above the challenges they face as a migrant community. He also stressed
the importance of being able to integrate into the Swiss society as it
opens windows to more opportunities.
Organizers of the 2013 Philippine Independence Day in Zürich reported
on the outcome of the event while the Geneva organizing committee also
gave a briefing on the ongoing preparations for the 2014 Philippine
Independence Day, which will banner the theme, “Pinoy ka, saan man,
kailan man”, and will be held on 7 June.
The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Geneva likewise gave a
presentation on their programs and projects which include OWWA
membership, issuance of overseas employment contract certificate, and
verification of employment contract, and entrepreneurial programs for
The leaders were also briefed on the current migration-related programs
between the Philippines and Switzerland such as those on the Au Pair
and Trainees, both of which help provide employment opportunities in
Switzerland for young Filipinos. The Embassy also provided a briefing
on the 2014 Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and
Organizations Overseas and called on the leaders to submit their
In his closing message, Ambassador Baja reminded the leaders that they
are all “ambassadors” of the Philippines to Switzerland and whatever
they do and how they behave will be the image of the Filipino nation
that will be projected to the Swiss public. He called on the
leaders to continue to uphold the good image of the Filipino migrant
community and at the same time, assured them that Team
Philippines-Switzerland always stands ready to assist them in their
needs to the best that it can.
The leaders also expressed their appreciation to the Philippine Embassy
for inviting them to the meeting and for its “open door” policy towards
the Filipino community.
The event, which was attended by more close to fifty (50) leaders, was
the third under Ambassador Baja’s term. Also present during the meeting
were officials from the Philippine Consulate General and POLO office in