MANILA - President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Tuesday (Monday in Washington D.C.) vowed he would protect overseas Filipino workers (OFW), saying this is a priority under his administration.
During his meeting with the Filipino community in Washington, Marcos lauded the efforts of OFWs in reviving the country's economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hundreds of Filipinos in Washington greeted Marcos, First Lady Liza Araneta, and the rest of the Philippine delegation for the event.
"Ang proteksyon ng ating mga OFW ay isa sa mga prayoridad ng ating administrasyon. We are strongly committed to pursue the third pillar of our foreign policy, which is assistance to Filipino nationals," said Marcos.
“Noong pandemya ay ang bumuhay talaga sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas ay ang mga OFW. At kaya’t… Kung hindi po sa inyo ay siguro mas nahirapan po na makabangon ang Pilipinas, kaya’t ulit maraming, maraming salamat sa inyo,” he added.
The President said it was the reason why the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) was created, noting how this mission is being carried out by Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople.
Ople was present during the event, days after leading efforts to evacuate hundreds of Filipinos in conflict-torn Sudan.
"Ang layunin po nito ay pagsamahin at palakasin lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno na may mandatong protektahan at isulong ang karapatan at kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan, dito sa America, sa Caribbean at saan mang sulok ng daigdig," he said.
"Ang aming isusukli po sa inyo ay lahat ng trabaho po namin para asikasuhin ang kalagayan ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan, hindi lamang sa Pilipinas kung hindi sa iba’t ibang lugar sa buong mundo."
Recalling his second meeting with US President Joe Biden earlier that day, Marcos said he thanked the US government for accepting Filipinos there, saying this took a "huge chunk" of his conversation with the American leader.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said that there are some 4.21 million Filipinos in the US, making Filipinos the third largest Asian group in the world’s biggest economy
Immediately after his visit on May 4, Marcos Jr will fly straight to the United Kingdom to attend the historic coronation of King Charles III in London on May 6.