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Lamma lunch wins points for GMA

Hong Kong’s hard-working Filipina maids got something to smile about in November when the Philippines’ president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, made an unannounced visit to the territory after duties in Beijing at an Apec meeting.

Eschewing the epicurean attractions of downtown Hong Kong, GMA and her entourage, which included speaker of the legislature Jose de Venacia, opted for a simple seafood lunch on outlying Lamma Island.

Better known as a laidback hippy hangout, Lamma quickly turned into little Manila as GMA was mobbed by Filipina maids on their day off, clamouring to grab a photo with the president.

Although the trip was touted as a private outing, there was political expediency in it for GMA. Overseas foreign workers are the heart of the Philippine economy, pumping more than $13 billion cash into the domestic market money the country simply cannot do without. The expatriate workers have also been staunch supporters of GMA and her party in past votes and next year mid-term elections are due.

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