OFWs, Thais ‘excited’ to meet Duterte in Bangkok – ambassador
BANGKOK – Not only the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) here are “excited” to meet President Rodrigo Duterte during his three day official visit.
The Thais, who were “touched by the gesture” of Duterte who paid his respects to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in November last year, are also looking forward to meet the President.
“They are touched by the gesture of the President when he came here on November 9 last year to pay his respects to the late King Bhumibol,” Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Mary Jo Bernardo-Aragon told reporters here on Monday.
Duterte is expected to arrive here at 12:10 a.m. (Philippine time) coming from his two-day official visit in Myanmar.
Aragon said at least 1,900 OFWs have registered to meet with the President during his meeting with the Filipino Community at the Royal Thai Navy Headquarters. The Thais, she said, even expressed their desire to meet Duterte during the event with the OFWs.
“As a matter of fact, even last year, following the results of the election, the Thai people have been excited about the plans and programs of President Duterte,” she said.
“Some of them, I understand, wanted to join the meeting with the Filipino community but of course this is one opportunity for our Filipinos here in Thailand [to meet the President],” she added.
Asked about the warm treatment Duterte is expected to get here, Aragon said the President has a strong appeal for the people with his promise of change and development.
Like Duterte, Aragon said the late King Bhumibol “has always been close to his people.”
As of December 2016, 16,743 Filipinos are residing in Thailand.
During the 2016 national elections, then Davao City mayor Duterte got 73.35 percent or 2,604 of the 3,550 overseas votes, which was mostly composed of professionals.
Aragon said most OFWs here are professionals composed of English teachers and Filipinos working in hotel and entertainment industries.
“Filipinos have been very helpful in improving the English proficiency of our Thai people. Many Filipinos here are English teachers mostly here in Bangkok even outside Bangkok,” she said.
The embassy official said Filipinos have been “supportive of the President in his efforts to get rid of the drug problem in the Philippines, especially among the youth.”
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