Duterte sees a better life for Filipinos on his third year in office

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte, delivers his speech during the Ceremonial Signing of the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) in Malacañan Palace on Dec. 19. -- KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday foresees a better life for the Filipino people on his third year in office, adding that they only need to “endure a little more” before things improve.

“Just bear with the sacrifices a little more,” the President said at the launch of Tienda Para sa mga Bayani at the 6th Regional Community Defense Group, Camp General Adriano Hernandez in Iloilo. “I’m on my second year. Maybe towards the end of the third year and the early part of the fourth year [we’re going to be a little better.]”

“You will no longer need to go abroad,” Mr. Duterte said, especially to those who plan to work overseas. “Don’t go abroad anymore because I cannot protect you. Let’s just endure sacrifices here a little longer.”

Mr. Duterte made these remarks after he recently banned the deployment of Filipino workers (OFWs) to Kuwait due to the increasing number of abuses and deaths, including the case of slain Filipina domestic helper Joanna D. Demafelis.

On the same day, before addressing the military at Camp General Adriano Hernandez, the President visited the wake of Ms. Demafelis where he said: “I’d tell you now, until and unless [the two primary suspects are arrested] and they are really behind bars, the deployment [ban] of OFW to [Kuwait] will remain.”

According to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)- Presidential News Desk (PND), Mr. Duterte had also “issued his appeal to the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to return to the fold of the law promising them with a better life by providing them job and livelihood opportunities.”

“I will pay each of you if you surrender,” he said. “You should enrol in TESDA (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority). Learn the skills [now because we no longer have any workers],” the President said.

Mr. Duterte likewise stressed his promise to “support and protect the uniformed personnel.” — Arjay L. Balinbin