MPC pool photo
MANILA, Philippines – Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Kuwait who arrived in Manila the night before Valentine's Day got an early message of love from none other than President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte personally welcomed them at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on Tuesday, February 13.
"I'd like to say again, welcome. I love you as a Filipino. Mahal ko kayo (I love you all)," said the President, eliciting cheers from his audience.
"Hindi po ako papayag na samantalahin kayo. O kung nangyari man 'yan, makakatikim sila sa akin. Hindi ako basta-basta gaya ng ibang tahimik lang," he added.
(I won't allow them to take advantage of you. Or if they did, they will get hear from me. I won't tolerate it like others who are just quiet.)
116 OFWs arrived in Manila at around 3:30 pm on an Etihad Airways flight. Another 150 more are expected to arrive at 10:00 pm on Tuesday.
According to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, P5,000 in cash was handed to each of the OFWs.
The government will provide a total of P15,000 as well as grocery bags to the repatriated Filipinos.
Duterte, earlier that day, promised to provide livelihood for the OFWs through the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and possibly with the help of other countries like China.
"I will sell my soul to the devil so you can come home and live comfortably," he said during the oath-taking of new government officials.
After meeting with the OFWs, Duterte flew to his hometown Davao City where he will spend Valentine's Day. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.