"Mayor Lin redefined GNP to stand for Green, Nature and People, or more appropriately, Green Productivity, Nature Sustainability and People Empowerment."Last weekend, we were in Taichung for the opening of the Taichung World Flora Exposition which will showcase horticultural products not only of Taiwan but some fifty other participating countries throughout the world. The Expo, which will run for six months until April 24 next year, is spread across several venues in Taichung City in central Taiwan. The diplomatic community in Taiwan attended the opening ceremonies and was given a brief tour in one of the venues, the Houli Horse Ranch and Forest Park. Mayor Chia-Lung Lin in his opening remarks gave a redefinition of GNP, which we all know to be gross national product, a measurement of a country’s economic activity. Mayor Lin on this occasion redefined GNP to stand for Green, Nature and People, or more appropriately, Green Productivity, Nature Sustainability and People Empowerment. The intention is to create and propagate green urban lifestyles that would protect nature, and engage people in supporting the new, Mother Earth protective lifestyle. * * * The Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan launched several projects this year. First is the transfer of offices under its aegis to bigger and better locations for the convenience of our OFWs who now need to go to only one office for all their needs. MECO maintains offices in the capital, Taipei, as well as Taichung in the center of the island, and Kaohsiung in its southern part. We are the only ASEAN country that maintains three offices here—the better to serve our numerous OFWs. In 2016, at the start of the Duterte administration, our OFWs numbered 135,000, about 85 percent of whom work in Taiwan’s manufacturing industries. As of June 30, 2018, two years after, we now have 157,000 OFWs, with 87 percent working in factories. Ours is the third largest foreign work force in Taiwan, the largest being Indonesia and the second being Vietnam. In 2016, OFWs had to shuttle from the overseas labor office under DOLE where they likewise transact with SSS, Pag-ibig and OWWA to the MECO office for their consular and passport renewal needs. Seeing how inconvenient it was for our OFWs, we initiated a transfer to Taipei’s Neihu District. This took effect on Feb. 2018, so now all MECO-supervised offices, including trade and tourism, are housed in the entire second floor of a new building, with a dedicated escalator. We used to be in downtown Chang-chun road with our offices located in the 11th and 12th floors of an old building serviced by only two elevators, inconveniencing not only MECO-serviced clients but other building occupants as well because of the heavy elevator traffic.
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