Filipinos in Singapore gave President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. a rousing welcome on Tuesday (September 6) as he arrived in the country on a two-day state visit.
Marcos met about 1,500 Filipinos at the Ho Bee Auditorium of the National University of Singapore, ahead of his meeting the next day with Singapore's President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He had flown into Singapore directly after his state visit to Indonesia, where he also met the local Pinoy community.
Here's RTVM's livestreamed video of the President's meeting with the Pinoy community:
Grateful for votes during election
Marcos thanked Filipinos in Singapore for their strong support during the Philippines' May 9 elections this year.
He received over 36,000 votes from Filipino workers in Singapore, which was three times more than his closest rival in the presidential race, former Vice President Leni Robredo.
The President said Filipinos in Singapore had the second highest voter turnout for overseas automated voting in the Asia Pacific and the third highest in the world.
“Yung performance ng eleksyon ang pinakamataas na nakita ng embassy na recorded (Your performance during elections is the highest recorded by the embassy) since overseas voting began in 2004. Muli, maraming salamat po (Again, thank you very much),” Marcos said in his speech.
Marcos won the election with a landslide victory with a majority of the votes cast.
"You gave me more than 31 million votes. That's why I owe much to you all. In exchange, I promise to work on giving you jobs and improving the Philippines," he said.
Promise to create more jobs at home
Marcos acknowledged that many Filipinos end up working overseas due to low salaries and lack of job opportunities in their home country.
He recognized how difficult it must have been for Filipinos to be away from their families, lauding them for keeping a positive attitude despite hardships.
As part of his promise to give Filipinos a better life, he vowed to provide more opportunities in the Philippines.
“Being in another country far away from your loved ones is not easy pero matibay ang Pilipino (but Filipinos are strong). You can withstand hardships by wearing the most beautiful of smiles,” he said.
“Hanggang dumating ang araw na kumpleto na ang trabaho sa Pilipinas ay meron pa tayong pagkakataon na ipakita ang galing, husay, sipag at bait ng ating mga overseas workers (Until the time comes that we have enough jobs in the Philippines, we still have a chance to show the talent, skill, hard work and kindness of our overseas workers),” he added.
He promised to prioritize the welfare and protection of Filipinos in Singapore and their families through the grant of assistance, scholarships, and healthcare by its embassy there and concerned government agencies such as the Department of Migrant Workers.
There are an estimated 200,000 overseas Filipino workers living and working in Singapore, 58% of whom are registered as professionals and skilled workers, while 42% are employed as household service workers. Singapore was the second largest source of overseas Filipino remittances worldwide in 2021, amounting to US$2.20 billion.
On Wednesday, Marcos will meet Singapore's leaders to discuss areas of cooperation. The leaders of both countries are expected to sign key agreements involving counter-terrorism and data privacy issues.
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