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Duterte treats HK Pinoys to trademark speech

14 May 2017

By Vir B. Lumicao

President Rodrigo Duterte, regaling Hong Kong-based Filipinos on May 13 to his brand of public speaking, announced a series of measures meant to provide relief to overseas Filipino workers.
Foremost among these  is the creation of a Department of OFWs and an OFW Bank to serve the needs of the country’s estimated 10 million overseas workers.

Duterte’s announcement confirmed plans disclosed in February by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, and reportedly affirmed earlier in the day to militant OFW leaders. However, the president held back information on new directions for the overseas employment certificates (OEC) which Bello whispered to him in the middle of his speech.

Duterte addressed a select group of about 400 Filipino religious leaders, businessmen, professionals and household workers in Hong Kong in his first meeting with them since he became president in June last year. He stopped over on his way to the two-day “One Belt, One Road” forum in Beijing starting May 14.

Spicing up his lengthy impromptu speech with his trademark humor, expletives, jokes about women and tirades at Catholic bishops and media-owning “oligarchs”, the President reaffirmed his resolve to rid the government of corruption and continue his campaign against drugs.

The former Davao mayor used his usual cusswords to cheers from his supporters as he blasted the bishops for hitting his bloody campaign against drugs and his fondness for women, and those who were giving OFWs a hard time. “Kung sila ang sinasabi na mga bagong bayani natin, bakit pinahihirapan nyo ang mga bagong bayani? Bakit binubuksan mo ang bagahe? ‘Stop it! I don’t like it,’ sabi ko. Kasi kung may magbubukas ng bagahe niyo,  there has to be a compelling reason,” he said. Customs officers at NAIA open baggage only on the back of outside information.

He advised OFWs not to bring home “shabu” when they go on vacation. “Baka mamaya, instead of your relatives going to you para sa pasalubong, pupunta sila may dalang abuloy,” he  added.
Warning those in the drugs trade, he said: “Do not destroy the country, do not destroy the Philippines.”

On his trip to Beijing, Duterte said China would build two bridges across the Pasig River for free to help boost economic activity such as trade and tourism. “At this moment I can only thank China profusely for helping us without conditions,” he said.

Duterte said joining the “One Belt, One Road” economic initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping would allow his government to promote trade in agricultural products with other countries.

Duterte said that as the country’s economy is agriculture-based, it needs to find markets for its farm products. He said China is willing to help the Philippines revive its economy without any conditions because that country is awash with money.

“Mine is really to provide employment, so I invite people to invest in the Philippines,” he added.
“Today, walang akong masabi except my profuse thanks to China for helping us out. Remember that there was a time when lahat ng export natin ay hindi tinatanggap dito,” Duterte said.

About 100 people who wanted to see their president were refused entry to Regal Airport Hotel by the strict security, made up of  Hong Kong Police’s Special Branch and personnel of the Malacanang Presidential Security Group.

Representatives of militant groups who
had invitations were held off two and a half hours
before being allowed in and asked to sit in the last rows.
(Photo by Bing Yungco)
Among those refused entry were Bayan Hong Kong & Macau, and Unifil Hong Kong officers led by Eman Villanueva, who said they had invitations and were invited by Bello to the meeting after a dialogue at the Consulate. “Ayaw silang papasukin ng PSG,” said Labor Attache Jalilo de la Torre.
Consul General Bernardita Catalla, in her welcome speech,  apologized to those who were not allowed in.  “Humihingi ako ng paumanhin sa napakaraming gustong makita si Presidente ngunit di namin napagbigyan dahil sa kakulangan ng lugar at oras...”

But she was interrupted noisily by a group of Duterte supporters who shouted, “Dito, maraming bakante!”

Catalla replied, “Nais nating ipaalala na mayroon tayong security arrangements na sinusunod.”
But in a lengthy Facebook post afterwards, Villanueva challenged the decision to ban them from the venue initially, and made to wait for more than two hours being finally allowed in.

“Maraming dapat ipaliwanag mga kinauukulan sa Konsulado.Hindi dapat palampasin  ang nangyaring  pambabastos sa mga progresibo at lehitimong OFW,” said Villanueva .

If the Consulate’s purpose was as they said, they did  not want to embarrass the President, then Villanueva said they did exactly that when they banned the militants  as it led to commotion and undue publicity from the international media.

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