By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday made a string of promises to the 129 OFWs repatriated from Saudi Arabia, including inclusion in the government’s conditional cash transfer program and education for their kids billed to his office.
“Kung talagang medyo hirap ka, even to survive, let me know. Kasi kung talagang sarado, then i-enroll ko na lang kayo sa 4Ps,” he said, referring to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, which provides conditional cash grants to the poor.
Duterte, however, told them to exit from the program once they find stable job.
“Just don’t be a liar. Sabihin na ninyo ang totoo kung may trabaho na kayo, then I’ll stop the assistance,” he said.
Aside from inclusion in the 4Ps, Duterte also told the OFWs that the Office of the President can pay for the education of their children.
“Maybe iyong sabi niya na walang pang-enrollment, naputol, mag-enroll lang kayo sa state university o sa eskwelahan–any elementary school. I-documentation lang ninyo ang pagka-OFW ninyo. Ako na ang magbayad sa eskwelahan. Ang kailangan lang ipakita iyong employment contract ninyo, when you went out and in. Tapos iyong OFW order,” he said.
“Diretso na ang billing sa Office of the President. Marami tayong bangkong mapagnakawan,” Duterte told them in jest.
More than that, Duterte also gave the OFWs P5,000 each for their transportation going back to their provinces, and other needs.
Duterte also assured the OFWs that his administration is working hard to generate more jobs so that few Filipinos will have to leave the country to find employment.
“We are not so bad actually, okay naman ang ekonomiya natin. Maghintay-hintay lang kayo ng—bigyan mo lang ako konting panahon. Aayusin ko lang and ekonomiya, at ang may opportunity for you to work here,” he said.
“We are not really exceeding the expectations, but we are on target sa ating growth. We have hit a phenomenal of 7 [percent], but it’s not something to crow about, we have to do more,” Duterte added.
For OFWs eyeing to put up a business in the country, Duterte urged them to go to the Department of Trade and Industy and inquire about how they can get a loan to start a small business.
The 129 repatriated OFWs were just some of the thousands retrenched from Saudi Arabia-based companies after the oil prices hit their lowest in over a decade. —KBK, GMA News