President Duterte recognizes South Korea’s protection of Pinoys

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the meeting with the Filipino community at the Grand Hilton Convention Center Seoul in South Korea on June 3, 2018. RICHARD MADELO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

SEOUL — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Sunday, June 3, expressed gratitude to the government of South Korea for taking care of Filipinos in their country.

“I’d like to thank the Korean government, South Korea, for hosting so many Filipinos here — keeping them safe,” the President said in his speech at the Convention Hall, Grand Hilton Hotel and Convention Center during his meeting with the Filipino community.

The President started his three-day Official Visit to the Republic of Korea by spending more than two hours with Filipinos who were very exultant to meet him.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), an estimated 68,000 Filipinos are currently residing in South Korea, comprising of workers who entered the country under the employment permit system (EPS), students, professionals, missionaries, and spouses of Korean nationals.

Philippine Ambassador to Republic of Korea Raul Hernandez said most of the Filipinos are based in the Seoul Metropolitan Area and the surrounding citizen towns in the Gyeonggi province.

He also noted that Filipinos are given equal coverage and protection as locals and enjoy the same wage, working hours, privileges, as well as insurance, benefits, and other support program.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive dedicated a part of his speech to apologize to Kuwait for the harsh language he had used.

“I’d like to even thank the government of Kuwait. And for the first time, I would say that I was harsh in my language. Maybe because that was a result of emotional outburst. But I’d like to apologize now. I’m sorry for the language that I was using,” Duterte said.

The Chief Executive then expressed gratitude to Kuwait for “understanding us and keeping their faith in us and practically gave to all of my demands.”

“I’m very satisfied by the way how you responded to the problems of my country,” he said.

Last month, Duterte mentioned the warming relations between Kuwait and the Philippines, following the granting of the conditions protecting the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Among these conditions are a guaranteed seven-hour sleep, no physical abuse, non-confiscation of cellphones and passports, and a day off.

President Duterte then proceeded to an additional room to meet with more members of the Filipino community.

In his remarks, the President told them that he is very happy to see his countrymen and reported to them the developments in the Philippines.

“I would like your life to be as comfortable as possible. Medyo nag-improve na ho tayo. Kulang tayo ng mga trabahante ngayon,” Duterte said, citing the offer of businessmen in Davao for OFWs in the Middle East to go home and work in the Philippines.

Prior to his meeting with the Filipino community, the President met with Emelita Camerino Saquilayan, a domestic worker in South Korea, who asked for Duterte’s assistance in starting a small business in the Philippines.

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