Philippine-Austria Friendship Week – Kick-Off Reception held

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Under the theme “Engaging the Stakeholders with a Sense of Commitment and Genuine Partnership,” the Austrian Embassy in the Philippines, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA Philippines, and the Philippine Department of Migrant Workers are organizing the 2024 Filipino-Austrian Friendship Week. This all-encompassing endeavor aims to enhance the two nations’ bilateral ties by integrating diplomatic, cultural, and economic components.

During the celebration of Filipino-Austrian Friendship Week in May, an Austrian business delegation will focus on identifying investment opportunities and enhancing trade between the two nations. Austria reiterated its commitment to deepening economic cooperation in promising sectors.

Above all, through cultural performances, an information highway, and a job fair, the event seeks to promote Austria as a destination for qualified workers from the Philippines.
On this particular occasion, the Philippine Embassy in Vienna, in cooperation with the Wirtschaftskammer Wien (the Vienna Chamber of Commerce), the Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Wirtschaft (the Federal Ministry for Labor and Economy), and the Austrian Business Agency (ABA, an Immigration and Residence Services), invited Filipinos and Austrians to a reception on April 23, 2024, at 18 hours in the Marble Hall of the Federal Ministry for Labor and Economy.

The event’s highlight was the awarding of prizes and certificates to the winner of the #Servuskaibigan campaign of the Austrian Business Agency.

As part of the Austrian-Philippine Friendship Week starting May 15, 2024, the Austrian Business Agency initiated the campaign, challenging  Filipinos to share their most beautiful stories of living and working in Austria.

Under the hashtag #servuskaibigan, members of the Filipino community in Austria were asked to share their impressions about the country by submitting a video or photo. The purpose is to highlight Austria’s uniqueness and generate awareness among family, friends, and the Filipino community, encouraging them to visit. To qualify, participants were required to upload their entries to Facebook or Instagram. Participation is generally open to anyone with a public profile who uses the hashtag while posting on either of these platforms. The post should explain why Austria is the best country for Filipino workers to live and work.

Jajha Abanilla de Chavez and Keytlin Kamil won the photo and video categories out of 59 submissions.

Speeches

“The Philippines offers great potential for qualified and skilled workers who are urgently needed in Austria,” stated Eva Landrichtinger, Secretary General of the BMAW. “Cooperation with the Philippines has been strengthened since the MoU’s conclusion, and notable advancements have already been achieved. We hope to raise interest in the Austrian labor market among competent and skilled people from the Philippines by holding the Austrian-Filipino Friendship Week,” the Secretary-General added.

The Memorandum of Understanding between Austria and the Philippines, which was signed in the fall, is being followed by another tangible cooperation project with Friendship Week, which pleases Karlheinz Kopf, Secretary General of the WKÖ: “Here, as part of several events in Manila, we have the opportunity to once again draw attention to the attractiveness of Austria as a location.” Since there is still a labor shortage in many fields, skilled people with training from the Philippines are highly valued in various industries, including technology, crafts, IT, healthcare, and tourism.”

“Led by our government’s whole-of-society approach, the Embassy continues to work closely with the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), the Austrian government, civil society partners, and our diaspora in the advancement of an ethical, sustainable, and transparent recruitment framework for our overseas Filipino workers,” according to Evangelina Lourdes Bernas, the ambassador of the Philippines to Austria.

The Philippine-Austria Friendship Week in Manila will highlight the strong partnership between both countries in the field of labor cooperation in light of the two Memoranda of Understanding  (MOU) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Austria on the recruitment of professional and skilled workers and the recruitment of Filipino nurses in 2023.

— Text and Pictures: Hector Pascua

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