Byline: GENALYN D. KABILING
LONDON (via PLDT) -- President Arroyo thanked yesterday Queen Elizabeth II for the good treatment of the growing Filipino community here as she sought to enhance Philippine bilateral relations with the United Kingdom during their historic meeting here.
The President held a 30-minute private audience with the Queen of England at the Buckingham Palace at around 12:10 p.m. Thursday (8:15 p.m. Thursday in Manila), on the last leg of her European journey.
Fresh from her fruitful four-day state visit in Spain, Mrs. Arroyo accompanied by her large delegation arrived late Wednesday night in the chilly capital of England for a two-day official visit.
The meeting between the President and the Queen showed the importance the United Kingdom places on its bilateral and economic relations with the Philippines, according to Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye.
In the private meeting with the Queen, the President expressed appreciation to the Queen for the warm hospitality and protection of the welfare of 150,000 Filipinos living and working in the European country.
Mrs. Arroyo, speaking to Filipino community leaders a few hours before her scheduled audience with the Queen, said she also expects to receive praises from the Queen for the valuable contributions and achievements of Filipino workers in healthcare, information technology, education, aviation, hospital sector, and food industry.
''At sigurado pag pinagusapan kayo, wala silang masasabi tungkol sa inyo kundi papuri, panay puri para sa inyo at inyong mga pamilya,'' she said in her remarks during a meeting with the Filipino community leaders at the Four Seasons Hotel.
''Payagan ninyo ako na magkaroon ng pribilehiyo na tanggapin naman iyong mga mababait na salita nila na parangal sa inyo. Hayaan ninyo akong sabihin ko sa kanila, in your behalf, maraming salamat sa kanila sa paggalang sa inyo. Buo ang aking paniniwala na patuloy silang mataas ang tingin sa inyo. Talagang pwede kayong ipagmalaki,'' she added.
Mrs. Arroyo noted that Filipinos living and working in the UK has increased from roughly 18,000 in 1986 to more than 150,000 in 2006. She also cited that six Filipinos are born every day in the United Kingdom as proof of the growing Filipino community.
Upon arrival at the Buckingham Palace, the President was welcomed by the Queen's Royal Foot Guard in his bearskin and red tunics at the Central Gate.
In her remarks before the Filipino community early in the day, the President said she intends to enhance the country's bilateral and economic links with the United Kingdom during her brief visit here.
Mrs. Arroyo will return to the Philippines on Monday, December 10.
President asks British MPs to reconsider strict caregiver policy
LONDON (via PLDT) -- President Arroyo appealed Thursday to members of the British Parliament to reconsider a new government policy restricting the employment of Filipino caregivers in the United Kingdom.
The President and dozens of Filipino lawmakers held a luncheon meeting with several British parliamentarians at the Four Seasons Hotel at around 12:45 pm Thursday (8:45pm Thursday Manila). …