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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, June 8) - Ten
outstanding overseas Filipino workers were recognized Saturday night at the
Nikko Hotel Saipan in celebration of the Philippines' 2003 Migrant Workers Day,
which pitched the importance of OFWs not only to the Philippine economy but to
their host nations as well, including the CNMI.

Acting Gov. Paul Manglona said that the CNMI, along with other
countries and the Philippines, joins in celebrating Migrant Workers Day to
acknowledge the significant contributions of overseas Filipino workers.

"These individuals are not so much migrant workers, but our
brothers and sisters. It is my hope that you people share this sentiment and
feel welcomed and comfortable in your adopted home of the Marianas. You have
left family, friends, and loved ones back in your home country and have offered
your talents and skills to the people of the Commonwealth that we truly could
not do without," said Manglona, borrowing an article earlier written by
lawyer Robert Torres.

Underscoring the significant role of the Filipino community, the
acting governor pointed out that the business community enjoys many of the
talents brought in by professional from the Philippines, with the Filipino
community filling a very important niche in the CNMI.

"You people keep our islands running. Some of you manage
our local businesses, some of you are engineers, some of you build the houses we
live in. Some of you are the hard workers that make sure that we have power and
water in our homes, and some of you help us raise our children, whom you love
and care for as if your own. You are the people that we recognize today. You are
truly modern day heroes and bring pride to your country," he stressed.

Manglona joined Consul Wenceslao G. Gayola, Labor Attaché
Araceli A. Maraya, and Welfare Officer Ernie V. Regino in handing out plaques of
recognition to the 10 outstanding OFWs for the year 2003.

Recognized were Melvin Malvar, general manager of Construction
and Material Supply Inc.; Mario K. Espeleta, operations manager of Pacific
Development Inc.; Florenda Miranda, chief accountant of the Atoms Company Ltd.;
Antonio Soriano, accountant of the Equitable Insurance Co.; Henry Bautista,
civil engineer of the Department of Public Works; Joselito Espino, bartender at
the Aqua Resort Club; Victor Caronilla, warehouseman at the Luen Fung
Enterprises Inc.; Domingo Pablo, auto mechanic at D&W Corp.; Corazon Balita,
househelper to Mindy Taitano; and Segundo Lapaceros Jr., security guard of the
Securewest International.

The winners were selected from nominations received from
employers, colleagues, and co-workers, based on their job performance, civic
involvement and leadership potential.

The panel of judges was composed of former CNMI Attorney General
Robert Torres, who was represented by his wife Linda; Tan Holdings Corp. vice
president for finance and administration Ely Arago; Women's Advisory council
president Femie Rey; and Saipan Tribune editor Aldwin Fajardo.

The Migrant Workers Day, which is being celebrated worldwide,
has been observed in the last eight years after then Pres. Fidel V. Ramos signed
the Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipino Act of 1995.

The celebration also showcased Filipino talents during the
second half of the show, where performers rendered their singing and dancing

The show was hosted by 2002 Miss CNMI International Christine
Juwelle Cunanan and directed and choreographed by Ernie Molina. Sponsors of the
show were Verizon Micronesia, Salon De Manila, Pacific Trading, Angel
International School of Dance, and the Hotel Nikko Saipan.

June 9, 2003

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