‘Duterte eager to hear concerns of OFWs in Hong Kong’

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President Rodrigo Duterte (Photo courtesy of Malacanang)

Manila—-President Rodrigo Duterte is eager to personally hear the concerns of overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong when he visits the former British colony next week, Malacanang said this morning.

In a briefing at the Palace, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Manuel A.J. Teehankee said the welfare of OFWs is one of the administration priorities “closest to the heart of the President.”

“The President will be traveling to Hong Kong to meet with members of the Filipino community with OFW welfare being one of the initiatives closest to the heart of the President,” Teehankee told Malacananag reporters.

“He is eager to see and hear firsthand the concerns and the situation of our kababayans in Hong Kong,” he added.

Mr. Duterte is set to visit Hong Kong and meet with members of the Filipino community on April 12 after attending the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Hainan on April 10.

Teehankee said Mr. Duterte would also have a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the international conference.

“The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss ways to further enhance the bilateral relationship between the Philippines and China,” he said.

“The two leaders will also discuss ways to collaborate on jointly addressing pressing issues as well as common threats such as violent extremism and terrorism and cross-border traffic of illegal narcotics,” he added.

Teehankee said the international conference aims to bring together heads of state, business elites, academic experts and media personalities to discuss cooperation, innovations, and solutions towards “a more open and prosperous Asia.”

He added that this year’s theme is “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.”

“The Opening Plenary which the President will attend and address will be held on April 10. Addressing the BFA is a singular privilege for the Philippines and a privilege for acknowledging the President’s role and leadership in Asia and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian) Region,” Teehankee said.

He said the Forum was first conceptualized in 1998 by then President Fidel V. Ramos, Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa.

“The President sees the goals of the forum as parallel and complementary to his own vision of a developed Philippines and a more prosperous Filipino nation as well as a more prosperous ASEAN economic region,” Teehankee said.

“President Duterte looks forward to actively engaging his counterparts to create positive outcomes that will benefit the Filipino people in particular in the Asia Pacific region in general,” he added.

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