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D30 on ‘Vanessa’, OFW concerns

14 May 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte meets with the Filipino community before flying out to China.  (Photo by William Elvin)

By William Elvin

A mysterious woman called "Vanessa" dominated a press-conference President Rodrigo Duterte had shortly after speaking before members of the Filipino community in Hong Kong on May 13.

President Duterte said Vanessa was a "rich" woman who had been giving him money so his net worth jumped by Php3 million since he took power in June last year.

But he was coy about giving more information about the woman with whom he said he has been having an affair since becoming president.

He said the only time he would give specifics about the relationship and its financial implication is if the Bureau of Internal Revenue asks him about it.

The president is accompanied on his trip by his common-law wife, Veronica "Honeylet" Avancena and their daughter, Kitty.

Duterte also spent a substantial amount of time answering questions about OFW issues.

He reiterated his desire to have a one-stop shop where workers can process all their documents to save them time, effort and money.

But he was quick to say that the plan is still under study.

He also promised to crack down on abusive recruitment agencies preying on OFWs.
"We need an agency dedicated just to regulate recruitment,” he saiid.

He did not elaborate on whether this would mean dismantling the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, which currently regulates agency activities.

As for the controversial overseas employment certificate (OEC) which many OFWs want scrapped, Duterte admitted not being familiar with the issue.

He said that the Department of Labor and Employment, led by Secretary Silvestre Bello III, will conduct a study regarding the matter.

The impeachment case filed against him, which is due to be heard starting Monday, May 15, was also raised during the media conference.

But Duterte brushed it aside with a flippant comment: "Kung ano ang totoo, e di yun na ‘yun,” he said.

When asked about his trip to Beijing, he refused to give specific details, only saying that it had to do with the economy.
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