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L-R) Mr. Marcel Thenu, Manager of APM Technica in the Philippines, Filipino trainee Ms. Shera Cardinal,
Philippine Ambassador Mr. Leslie J. Baja, APM CEO Mr. Stefan Mattle, Filipino trainee Ms. Rianne Cabiao, and Consul Lillibeth V. Pono.

Two Filipino Trainees Open Possibility
of Employment in Switzerland

Two Filipino trainees of Swiss company APM Technica, Ms. Shera Cardinal and Ms. Rianne Cabiao, called on Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland Leslie Baja on 9 September at the Embassy Chancery in Berne.  APM Technica is a full-service adhesive and surface technology provider and has a facility in the Philippine Economic Zone in Cabuyao, Laguna.

For several years now, APM Technica headed by Mr. Stefan Mattle, has brought at least two trainees from the Philippines every 18 months to work at their headquarters in Heerbrugg in eastern Switzerland.  This program is being undertaken under the Philippines-Switzerland Agreement on the Exchange of Professional and Technical Trainees.

Last month, a bilateral working group met in Manila under the auspices of DOLE/POEA to discuss the procedures on how this agreement could move forward so that a bigger number of trainees could avail of this program.  The Embassy is looking into the possibility of opening the door for Filipino healthcare workers to work in Swiss hospitals by starting as trainees.

Last year, the Embassy also successfully worked for the lifting of the ban on Au Pairs to Switzerland, the first such lifting of the ban for a European country.  The lifting further enhanced the strong people to people contact between the Philippines and Switzerland. 

There are about 10,000 Filipinos in Switzerland, mostly working in international organizations in Geneva and in Swiss health institutions.  In a recent meeting he had with Filipinos in Zurich, Ambassador Baja informed the Filipinos present that in his talks with Swiss officials, he was told that the Filipinos in Switzerland are among the most respected and well-liked foreign nationals in the country.  He told them that given this distinction, they are the best ambassadors of goodwill the Philippines can ever have in Switzerland.

The Philippines and Switzerland have a long history of warm and close relations.  Diplomatic relations were established 55 years ago on 30 August 1956 but the first Swiss consular representation in Asia was established in Manila in 1862 or almost 150 years ago.

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