News Release

President Duterte vows to help undocumented Filipinos

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows a gesture of respect as he takes center stage during the meeting with the Filipino community at the Royal Cultural Palace in Amman, Jordan on September 7, 2018. ARCEL VALDERRAMA/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

AMMAN, Jordan — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday, September 7, pledged that his administration would immediately find solutions regarding the predicaments of Filipinos abroad without legal documents.

The President capped his three-day official visit here with a meeting with the Filipino community at the Royal Cultural Palace.

The Chief Executive has been consistently saying that apart from enhancing the Philippines’ bilateral relations with its foreign counterparts, his main priority will always be the Filipino people, and this was also evident in his official visit to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

During the President’s meeting with King Abdullah II on Thursday, September 6, he mentioned that one of his principal interests is the situation of the Filipinos in Jordan. Although most are in a good position, there are some who are still in the predicament of not having proper documents.

“Bakit ako pumunta dito? Well, of course, first is to make a historic visit to the Kingdom of Jordan. Kaya matagal kami nag-usap about you…kayong lahat. Pag-usapan lang is ‘yung undocumented dito,” he said.

He further noted that his administration is finding possible solutions to this matter. “I will send maybe a senator…o kaya [itong si] Secretary Cayetano to fix this thing. Alam mo bakit? Wala kayong dapat taguan. His Majesty is a man of his words. Totoo talaga.”

The President expressed his admiration for the King’s sincerity and for having “a human soul” when he brought up this issue to him. “Isa sa mga rare na nakita ko na talagang kung magsalita, you can see the human spirit in his words. So I hope to work on it right away,” he added.

He also expressed his gratitude to King Abdullah II for inviting him to visit Jordan and most importantly, “for being kind to my people.”

Jordan is home to, more or less, 48, 000 Filipino workers. Since the government is eager to advance the Filipinos’ living conditions abroad, the Chief Executive encouraged the Filipinos in Jordan to avail themselves of services the two governments offer to help them improve their skills.

“ [I] encourage Overseas Filipinos to take advantage of programs for self-improvement and training offered by the Philippine Embassy and various organizations in Jordan or in the Philippines. I would also reiterate the significance of self-improvement in nation-building and becoming true agents of change,” President Duterte said with eagerness.

Furthermore, he also stressed the government’s initiatives to make “working abroad a choice, not a necessity for Filipinos,” because it is important to “keep the Filipino family together.”

Meanwhile, in the middle of his speech, the President was explicit to inform the Filipinos in Jordan about the current situation in the Philippines, including the inflation rate the Filipinos are enduring. However, he noted that the government is doing something about it.

“I am not apologizing. There is really inflation in the Philippines and we are trying to control it,” he said.

Accompanying the President were Office of the Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Senator Richard Gordon, and Philippine Ambassador to Jordan Akmad Altah Sakkam. ### PND