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EXPO 2020 SPECIAL SERIES: Filipinos involve in the project shares experience

by | News

Oct. 22, 19 | 5:35 pm

DUBAI: Thirty-eight-year-old Jon Jon Catapia, was one of first eight Expo 2020 Dubai employees who opened office at Emirates Towers on Oct. 3, 2012 – more than a year before Dubai won its bid to host the global event – to help get the fledgling project off the ground.

Catapia was working at the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) central office when he went to Dubai on a visit visa in September 2012 to join his wife and siblings.

During his first eight months on the job, Catapia would go to Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) every day and man a booth, handing out brochures about Expo 2020 to passersby and explaining what the Expo was.

He recalls the fast turn of events ensuing after Dubai won its bid on Nov. 7, 2013: “Halos every week may bagong hires na five to 15. Dumami na kami. Hindi na kasya sa office sa Emirates Towers,” Catapia said, adding that they had to rent a space a Boulevard Plaza Towers in Downtown Dubai to accommodate an expanding Expo 2020 team.

By 2015, Catapia said the team has grown to 400 members, which necessitated that they move to the Expo 2020 site itself, south of Dubai.

“It was totally empty, with just one small road onsite. Talagang disyerto pa lang nuon habang tinatayo yung temporary office naming sa site. Para syang cabin lang pero 3 palapag. Nuong una kasya lang 500 people but every week, may new joiners na 15 to 20 staff. So, nagdecide ang management to extend office,” Catapia said.

Catapia started out as administrative assistant. He was promoted to the post as department coordinator a year and half later; and on to being management coordinator where he was given authority over the whole project. He is now an assistant manager with eight people in his team.

“Filipino tayo, hard working at saka mapagmahal tayo sa trabaho natin yun na isa sa mga dahilan kung bakit ako naging successful sa Expo 2020,” said Catapia, who assisted in any capacity required to help the organization flourish – from being a receptionist to ordering office supplies and supporting the human resources, finance and procurement departments.

“Mula 2012 to 2015, nag-iisa lang akong Pinoy nuon,” he said. Nowadays, he said there are Filipinos in each of the 37 departments that the Expo 2020 team has grown to have.

“Masabi ko na lucky ako kasi isa ako sa mga pioneers ng Expo 2020. Hanggang pagtanda ko… hanggang mamatay ako masasabi kong swerte ako kasi naging part ako ng Expo 2020. Maski saan ako mapuntang bansa, masasabi kong naging part ako ng Expo 2020,” said Catapia.

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THE FILIPINO TIMES is the biggest and most trusted Filipino newspaper in the UAE.

It has a print run of 60,000 copies and 250,000 readership per week; bolstered by 2.5 million visitors to its website every month. It also has an e-newsletter sent to its 250,000 subscribers every day.

The Filipino Times is FREE and has the widest targeted circulation across the 7 emirates of the UAE.

With more than 2,500 strategic distribution spots, TFT is available where the Filipinos are - at Smart Bus Shelters, Metro Stations, restaurants, supermarkets, schools, airport lounges, Emirates and Etihad Philippine-bound flights, churches, Filipino community events and many more.

THE FILIPINO TIMES. We are where the Filipinos are.

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