By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos
President Duterte is playing Santa Claus as he plans to host Christmas parties for many overseas Filipino workers in Malacañang before the year ends.
However, Duterte, speaking at the annual Pamaskong Salubong para sa OFW of the Department of Labor and Employment and Overseas Workers’ Welfare Administration in Clark, Pampanga for repatriated OFWs from Qatar, said that he cannot meet them all at once due to the number of returning OFWs which he estimated at around 5,000.
“Kasi gusto kong mag-party tayo kaya lang kung limang libo, mag-beach party na lang tayo sa Pasig River. Hindi tayo magkasya diyan sa Malacañang. Limang-libo, saan ko kayo ilagay?” Duterte said in jest.
“Alam kong gusto ninyong umuwi na muna. It could be after Christmas na lang. We divide the number. Schedule na lang, one libo per meeting,” he added.
Duterte asked DoLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III to order his regional directors to set a date when the OFWs can go to Malacañang for the Christmas parties.
Duterte welcomed 34 OFWs repatriated from Qatar in Clark. However, they had to wait for the President for around two hours as he was attending a prior event also in Clark.
Their wait was worth it as Duterte distributed Christmas gifts which include cash and appliances to them.
According to the Presidential Communications Operations Office, eight OFWs received P50,000 cash each, while another eight received appliances worth P10,000 each.
Five OFWs received appliances worth P3,000 each while 12 OFWs received special Christmas gifts. Four OFWs received I-DoLE cards which enable them to avoid the long and tedious process of applying for an Overseas Employment Certificate that they need to secure.
Duterte said that he will explain how the OFWs should use their cash during the Christmas parties in Malacañang as he hates to see them waste the money.
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