Filipinos in Nordic region gather in Sweden

Philippine Ambassador Victoria S. Bataclan conducted a “Pilong ng Bayan 2004: Balikatan para sa Kaunlaran” conference in Helsingborg, Sweden on 13 november 2004.
      The conference brought together over 50 participants from 12 different Filipino community organizations from the Nordic countries of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland to map out a program that aims to contribute to Philippine national development and the expansion of Philippine relations with the Nordic countries.
      The Ambassador said that the conference formed two working groups to discuss specific concerns, including Welfare and Development, Trade, Investment, Culture and Tourism.
      The conference participants identified specific projects to be jointly undertaken by Filipino community organizations in the region.
      These projects include: a computer literacy program; language training; a customized pre-departure orientation seminar and handbook for Filipino migrants to Nordic countries; a Filipino community page in the Embassy’s website; implementing the Volunteer-12 Program and other tourism promotion projects; and expanding participation in the donate-a-classroom project for the Classroom Galing sa Mamamayang Pilipino Abroad (CGMA) Program aimed at tapping expatriate Filipinos.
      The Ambassador also detailed the relevance of the Philippines’ foreign policy goals to national development and called attention to the forthcoming 2005 milestones in the country foreign relations with Scandinavia.
      She cited the 50th anniversary of RP-Finland Diplomatic relations and the centennial celebration of Norway Constitution Day, during which the Embassy, with the help of the Filipino communities in the area could conduct image-building activities.
      The conference was organized by the Philippine Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden in cooperation with the Bayanihan Swedish-Philippines Friendship Association. The Philippine Embassy in Stockholm has diplomatic jurisdiction over the other Nordic states of Norway, Denmark and Finland.
      A day before the conference, Ambassador Bataclan paid a courtesy call on the Mayor of Helsingborg, Ms. Ann Arleklo at her office in Helsingborg ,s City Hall. During the call, Ambassador Bataclan and Mayor Arleklo explored possibilities for a sister-city agreement between Helsingborg and a city in the Philippines to further strengthen RP-Sweden relations.

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