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No Chater walkabout for PRRD during lightning visit to HK

12 May 2017

By The SUN Team
President Duterte will visit HK for the first time
since taking office in June last year
Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to meet with a select group of Filipino community leaders in Hong Kong this Saturday, May 13, on his way to China after attending the World Economic Forum in Cambodia.
But while the meeting has been confirmed by both Malacanang and the Consulate, reports that the President will spend the next day, Sunday, doing a walkabout in Central to meet overseas Filipino workers, appear to be false.
Vice Consul Bob Quintin, who is coordinating the preparations for the presidential visit, said President Duterte is only scheduled to address Filcom leaders at the Regal Airport Hotel starting at 5pm on Saturday.
“No other event, just the Filcom event,” Quintin said in response to an online query from The SUN on whether other activities had been lined up for his visit.
However, over at Worldwide House in Central, people remain abuzz with speculation about the supposed walkabout by the president at OFW hangouts in the area.
“Haven’t you heard? President Duterte will be at Chater Road on Sunday?” one shopkeeper said confidently on Wednesday when asked what the OFWs nearby were all so excited about.
Another OFW who was told that the meeting with the President would take place a day earlier at the airport hotel, excitedly said, “Can I go? I want to see him!”
Unfortunately for many, only those given an invitation by the Consulate – and cleared by both the Philippine and Hong Kong governments - could gain entry into the meeting venue. All invitees were asked for their full name, HKID and passport numbers, and mobile telephone numbers.
The vetting is apparently so strict that about a week after the invitations had been sent out, the names of guests who had been cleared were still not known.
“(The) list is still being vetted, so no figures yet,” Quintin said, when asked how many people were expected to attend the meeting.
He also said they had yet to be informed on who would be accompanying the president to the meeting.
Among those hoping to take part in what could be their first dialogue with a sitting president are members of militant Filipino community organization, United Filipinos-Migrante Hong Kong.
Unifil Secretary-General Eman Villanueva told The SUN that the Consulate had asked them to submit the names of officers they wanted invited to the meeting, but they have yet to receive word on whether they would actually be allowed to take part.
Just the same, they had prepared a “migrants’ agenda” in hopes of having even just a brief meeting with him. In the agenda are long-standing concerns such as the high government fees and illegal exactions made by recruiters on OFWs, the extension of the passport validity from five to 10 years, and the continuation of peace talks between the government and the leftist National Democratic Front.
But while many are excited to come face to face with the President, who overwhelmingly won the OFWs’ vote in last year’s national elections, some of those invited, OFWs and residents alike, have turned down the invitation.
“I cannot bear to see and hear him speak,” said one OFW, who said she was offended by the President’s anti-women remarks and repeated cussing.
Another invitee, a resident, said she “happily declined” the invitation “at baka ikahiya ko pang Pilipino ako”.

President Duterte will be in China for the two-day “Belt and Road Summit” which will be attended by more than 1,000 delegates and government leaders from 28 countries.
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