The active movement of Filipinos across the globe in the last decades has resulted in the emergence of a global community of more than ten (10) million overseas. Filipino people with a collective strength that can fuel Philippine economic development. While they have found gainful employment and even acquired permanent residency or citizenship in their host countries, the Overseas Filipinos have an abiding interest in the future of the Motherland. They remain deeply involved and maintain close ties by engaging in philanthropic undertakings and socio-cultural programs reflective of their continued concern for the Philippines.
Of the more than 30,000 Filipinos and around 60 Filipinos organizations in Austria, such socio-economic and philantrophic acts are being addressed regularly. Individual and organizational small and high-impact projects that address the country’s social and economic development needs are being intiated.
Such initiatives of the Filipinos here aim to support and address the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, the achievement of universal primary education, the improvement of the health system, and environmental sustainability.
This initiative is also evident in the aftermath of the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda or Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. In Austria alone, Filipino groups and individuals staged charity events and collected cash and in-kind donations which were brought into the Philippines for the relief and rehabilitation efforts for the victims of the said typhoon.
Social, cultural and religious groups in Austria are not only handing dole outs to their constituents in the Philippines, but a number of these groups help their „kababayans“ to harness Filipino values and encourage them to develop personal responsibility.
There are several organisations – credible and long in existence – which offer or act as a conduit for various livelihood and business opportunities to Filipinos. I know a lot of Filipinos here in Austria who donate financial assistance to Gawad Kalinga, Austrian Red Cross and Caritas, who offer ideas and programs to help the Philippines through livelihood and enterprise opportunities.
Missio Austria and Katholische Jungschar Österreich, with whom I am actively working with, collect annually donations in all churches in Austria in order to support several livelihood projects in the Philippines.
Helping the Philippines to attain progress and development is not only dependent on financial assistance. We are ambassadors and builders of our own greatness as a people. In this regard, we should develop a positive way of looking and speaking about the Filipino and our country, focusing on beauty and strengths.
Unity among us Pinoys in Austria is urgent and strong as ever. We have to rebuild ourselves culturally as a people. It all starts with love and respect.
There is no doubt the moment we learn to genuinely love and respect our fellow Filipinos, harmony will follow. Love and respect are the foundation for good relations, but unity is the key to prosperity. Development and prosperity will only follow if we are focused on a single purpose, if we are following the same path.
We must learn to act as one! The moment we learn to act as one people, we will be able to do more for the Filipino.