Duterte back in PH with 150 OFWs granted amnesty

Date Posted: 04/17/2017

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday paid tribute to the sacrifices of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), saying the government will beef up an ongoing repatriation program that will bring home distressed Pinoys overseas.

In his arrival speech after a three-nation visit in the Middle East, Duterte admitted he was overwhelmed by the warm reception from crowds of Filipinos who met with him during his visit to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.

He said that he got 76 percent of the OFW vote in Qatar in the May 2016 election.

“Gusto ko na minsang lumuhod. Really I felt like kneeling down. Thank you for helping the country. Malaki yan. Di niyo lang alam. Malaki ang tinutulong ninyo sa bayan. Your remittances, that keeps us afloat. During the years of crisis, remittances buoyed the economy,” he said.

He added: “Tutulong ako sa inyo bilang pagbayad sa ginawa ninyo sa kababayan ninyo. Magpapakamatay kami [para] sa inyo.”

Duterte said leaders of the three nations he visited in the Middle East were more than willing to help Filipinos there. A total of 150 undocumented OFWs who were granted amnesty by the Saudi Arabian government arrived in the Philippines the same time as Duterte early Monday and received monetary assistance from the President.

Duterte said one way to repay the sacrifices of Filipinos working abroad is to ensure that they are able to come home.

“Lahat ng gustong umuwi na Filipino, makakauwi. Gagasustan natin yan,” he said.

He joked that he would even send the Philippine Air Force to bring home distressed OFWs.

The President noted that one request of OFWs is to put up a hospital for Pinoys in the Middle East.

“Ang hinihingi nila ay kailangan nila ang ospital. We will look for the money and I will ask their permission to establish even a small hospital,” he said.

He also said the government is spending billions on livelihood programs for OFWs intent on learning a new trade.

Published Date: April 17, 2017
Source: ABS-CBN News