President Rody Duterte was well-received by roughly 2,000 overseas Filipino workers last night as thunderous applause and loud cheers echoed the halls of the Royal Thai Navy Convention Center past 8:00pm.
During the president’s speech that roughly lasted around 1 hour and 30 minutes, he reiterated the government programs that benefit not only Filipinos in the country, but as well as the overseas Filipino workers. Drugs, criminality and corruption were key points mentioned. One segment of the president’s speech that earned loud cheers was with regards to the Bureau of Customs alleged opening of balik-bayan boxes for “search” purposes.
The Bureau of Customs has received the ire of many OFW’s for its “strict compliance” of its “allowable items”. President Duterte encourages Filipinos coming home to assert their rights by dropping his name or even cause a scene at the airport whenever an attempt to search their baggage would be made.
Duterte’s staunchest critics were also not spared. Sen. De Lima and Sen. Trillanes were all butt of the president’s joke.
The president’s entourage includes Acting Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, Tourism Secretary Fortunato dela Pena, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency Director General Isidro Lapena and Philippine Carabao Center Executive Director Arnel del Barrio.
Thailand houses more than 16,000 overseas Filipinos workers specializing in the fields of education, hospitality management and managerial positions.