President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met the Filipino community in Jakarta on Sunday (September 4) during his state visit to Indonesia, ahead of his meeting today with Indonesian leader, Joko Widodo.
Bongbong's son, Rep. Sandro Marcos, accompanied the President along with his wife Liza Araneta-Marcos.
This is Bongbong's first official foreign trip. He will also be making a state visit to Singapore immediately after leaving Jakarta.
The President said that he specially arranged for his state visit to fall on Sunday, which is a rest day for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), so that he could meet this group.
"Alam din po namin na hindi lahat ng OFW na nagtatrabaho sa abroad ay namili na magtrabaho dito sa abroad [We know that not all OFWs are abroad because they want to work abroad]," Marcos said in his address to the community, according to CNN Philippines.
"Workers are abroad not because it's a matter of choice, but they are away from our familiar and beautiful shores, constrained to leave loved ones due to the lack of opportunities back home," Marcos continued. "That's why I, together with the Cabinet, am fully committed to making sure that every Filipino's economic, social, and cultural potential is fully realized in our own country."
"We dream that day will come that Filipinos will only travel abroad to work because it is their choice, not because they have no other options," he added.
Sandro shared photos and video of the community visit on social media.
There were many Filipinos waving the Philippine flag at the event.
At one point, those gathered in the hall sang along with a performer to "Umagang Kay Ganda", which was the Uniteam campaign jingle for Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Filipinos who attended the event also shared their photos on social media.
Helping Filipinos in Indonesia
Some Cabinet members accompanied Marcos on the trip, including Department of Migrant Workers Secretary Susan "Toots" Ople, who said their primary concern was to touch base with OFWs.
"On the side, after the President's speech and also for tomorrow, I will be having coffee with some of the Filcom leaders just to touch base with them and also solicit their suggestions, listen to their grievances, and hopefully the Department of Migrant Workers would be able to make a difference in several of the areas that we need to address," Ople said.
At his meeting with Indonesian President Widodo, Marcos is expected to witness the signing of a number of agreements, including the renewal of an expired 1997 pact governing defense activities like joint training and border security cooperation.
Malacañang Palace is, however, silent on whether or not Marcos will raise the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipino maid on death row in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges.
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