In his third State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 23, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged the millions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for their sacrifices and great contributions to the Philippine economy.
“We admire our Filipino migrant workers for their selflessness and courage in enduring the hardships of living away from home to provide for their families,” he said during his third State of the Nation Address (SONA), which lasted for 47 minutes.
“You epitomized the innate resilience of the nation. You have shown your willingness to toil and sacrifice day in and day out for the long term good of your family, loved ones,” the President added.
The Chief Executive also lauded the OFWs contribution to the economies of the countries they are employed in.
At the same time, Duterte denounced the killings and abuses against OFWs as he vowed to protect their well-being by continuing to work with host nations for their protection.
“This is why I strongly condemn the deaths and abuses experienced by Filipino migrant workers in the hands of foreign employers,” he said.
“I have said this before and I said it again, I am a worker of government and it is my vow to make sure that your well-being remains our foremost foreign policy concern. It is for this reason that we are continuing to work with the host nations to ensure the welfare of our countrymen,” the President added.
He also appealed to “all host governments to help us through and (be) dependable partners in this endeavor.”
Duterte noted that all plans would not work without political will.
“No matter how well conceive may be his mission if he lacks the political will to do what needs to be done, they can only end up a failure and a hopeless dreamer,” he said.
“As a worker of government I promise to do whatever it would take to give all Filipinos a comfortable life, fighting powerful interest in making sacrifices, my obligation is to promote and uphold the greatest good for the greatest number,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Duterte reported that they continue to do their best to stop contractualization, as he reported that over 300,000 workers from the private sector have been regularized.
“Our campaign against endo (end of contract) has resulted in the regularization of the more than 300,000 workers as of early this month,” he said.
“On May 1, of this year, I signed Executive Order (EO) No. 51, which sought to protect the workers’ right to security of tenure,” he said.
Duterte said he understands the sentiments of all sectors, but he can only do so much.
“Read my lips, I understand that this does not satisfy all sectors, I share their sentiment, I truly do much as I would like to do the impossible that power is not vested upon me by the Constitution, and neither would I make end both ends meet even if I would violate the laws to achieve that purpose. Simply it’s not part of my territory. That is why I add my voice in asking Congress to pass legislation ending the practice of contractualization once and for all,” he said.