PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday called on Filipinos to work together to reinvigorate the country’s economic and business environment so that no one would be compelled to work abroad.
In his first New Year’s message, Duterte said that by attracting more investments and creating more local job opportunities, working overseas would only be an option to Filipinos, not a necessity.
“There is no greater happiness than spending time with loved ones during the holiday season,” he said.
Some 10 million Filipinos live or work overseas, a quarter of them classified as overseas Filipino workers. Filipinos overseas send home $26 billion annually, propping up the consumer-led domestic economy.
Duterte also urged the people to be the “government’s partners” in its agenda of fighting illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
“The achievement of these goals will reclaim order and safety in our communities and will enable us to restore the public’s trust in government and in our people’s capacity to serve,” he said.
The President promised to evaluate the past six months of his government and make sure its gains would be for the common good.
“Let us all welcome 2017 with renewed determination and a reinvigorated spirit so that we can surmount the challenges ahead,” he concluded. “I wish all of us a fruitful and meaningful New Year.”
Duterte earlier disclosed that he would have a working New Year’s Day, presiding over meetings on rehabilitation efforts in areas struck by the recent typhoon “Nina.” MICHAEL JOE T. DELIZO