Luzon Ballroom, Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila, Pasay City
October 18, 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gave recognition to the contributions and hard work of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families as he graced the 7th Anniversary of Buhay OFW and the launching of the Anti-Trafficking OFW Movement (ATOM) at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City.

In his speech, the President vowed to advance the development of the Philippine economy in response to the sacrifices made by OFWs to improve the lives of their families in the Philippines. He also cited programs and strategies by the government to ensure that they will not be victims of illegal recruitment.

“The way, the only way, the most direct way of helping you is to improve the Philippines. You are out of the country because you want a more gainful employment. Not an excessive one but mas mataas, a higher rate and perhaps, the quality of service,” he said.

“Ganito lang ‘yan, you have to improve the economy. To do justice to the sweat of people outside, rich or poor, that their families here are protected. Wala naman silang ibang hinihingi. They are not asking for anything else from the government. As a matter of fact, they are the ones remitting money to the government,” the President added.

He also echoed his stance against human trafficking and vowed to put an end to it and attain justice for its victims.

“I cannot imagine human beings, for that matter, and I’m talking about our countrymen now — being sold to the slave markets elsewhere and they are tied to the bondage of slavery for all of their lives — no longer connected with their families, totally lost, and they are there as slaves to work for — umiinit ‘yung ulo ko,” he said.

He mentioned his administration’s campaign against illegal drugs and guaranteed to put to justice those who are involve in the crime that destroys the lives of the Filipino people.

“I love the Filipino. Why? Eh kababayan ko ‘yan, kadugo ko. Why? Because I am tasked,” he said.

The Commander-in-Chief issued an order to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into the recruitment centers and “make the rounds to make sure that they are not illegally operated.” He also ordered that the contact numbers of both the CIDG and NBI be posted in the PTV channel permanently in order for the people to easily call the said agencies when needed.

* * *