MALACAÑANG on Tuesday said Mocha Uson accompanied President Rodrigo Duterte to the Middle East to act as the “morale booster” of the Philippine delegation.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella confirmed that Uson joined the Philippine delegation.
“She has a large following among the overseas Filipino communities, especially in the Middle East, and it is in their interest that she has come to help boost morale and well-being,” Abella said.
Uson, who has close to five million followers on Facebook, performed with her all-girl group during Duterte’s sorties in the 2016 election campaign period. She was appointedas member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board on January 5.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was also part of the group that will accompany the President in his visits in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar.
In a media interview in Davao City on Monday, Marcos said she asked to join Duterte’s trips to check the condition of overseas Filipino workers (OFWS) in the Middle East.
“I really requested to join dahil sa overseas migrant labor na nasa Middle East, napakaraming Ilokano, napakaraming kababaihan so importante sa akin na malaman sitwasyon nila [I really requested to join because among the overseas migrant laborers in the Middle East, many are Ilocanos and women, so it’s important for me to know their situation],” Marcos told reporters.
Marcos also joined the President’s trips to China and Singapore last year.
Duterte earlier said Imee donated to his presidential campaign in the 2016 elections but the governor denied giving money to the president.
Duterte will visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12, the Kingdom of Bahrain from 12 to 14, and the State of Qatar from 14 to 16. He is scheduled to meet with the countries’ leaders and the overseas Filipino workers there during the visits.
Meanwhile, Abella boasted that the economy is on the upswing while Duterte is out of the country.
“While President Rodrigo Duterte is off to the Middle East to try to strengthen bilateral ties and attract more investments and trade, the domestic economy is definitely on an upswing,” he said in a statement.
He credited to Duterte’s economic managers the bullish Philippine economy, saying that such performance also showed that investors carry a positive outlook on the country’s economy.
“What all this highlights is that the Duterte administration’s economic team are on the right track in economic construction and that investors remain optimistic on the growth trajectory of the Philippine economy based on our sound economic fundamentals,” Abella said.
He cited the strengthening peso against the dollar and the Philippine Stock Exchange breaching 7,600 level.
“The peso has strengthened back to the P49 level against the dollar. This is the peso’s single biggest gain since March 2016 and erased all losses so far this year,” Abella said.
“At the same time, Fitch Ratings has also affirmed the Philippines’ investment grade score,” the Palace official said.
“Net inflow of foreign direct investments increased 13.2 percent in January to $685 million from $605 million a year ago, according to the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas figures,” he added.