The amount of support President Rodrigo Duterte is getting from Filipinos overseas is huge; one can only ask. And despite local mainstream media expending all efforts to destroy his image – releasing overblown articles after another, unchecked by facts and feeding international media with false narratives – the community remains steadfast.
So why is the question.
These community of overseas workers left the country because of unemployment and poverty. They are part of the class neglected by the political elite, primarily the Yellow Party, who only caters to the rich. They are the poor and they make the majority of the population.
These people, having lived in a foreign country, see the Philippines how foreigners see it in the world map. Compared to other Asian countries up north, the Philippines is looked down on, stereotyped as helpers or low class people. The rich ones, mostly supporters of the oligarchic rule of the Yellow Party, may say because they are: referring to the poor class. But foreigners don’t normally see the class, they see the race. Plagued by corruption and crime, the country they say is unsafe, filthy and out of order.
These people want to come home. They can no longer tolerate being separated from loved ones, from their young children, from parents. They are lonely and hopeful that one day, they do not have to leave home in order to survive. They do not have to deal with discriminating eyes [on a daily basis] anymore.
These people want to be proud of their race and their country because, as cliché as it is, there are so many things to be proud of about the Philippines. They long for the respect they deserve.
The rich class, blinded by money and privilege, will never understand this until they live amongst the races of the world abroad. Let’s call that a “local level mindset”. I must say however without making a sweeping generalization that it is not their choice they stay in the comforts of their privilege – although that is a big factor; the fact is, a majority of them are often denied of a traveler’s visa to first world countries because of one reason: race.
The OFWs are hopeful. They now have a chance to re-write the future of the country after the victory of Rodrigo Duterte against the Oligarchy Party candidate Mar Roxas. Their prayers and cries were answered. For the first time in such a long time, they have a voice. And under the Duterte administration, it will be heard.
Rodrigo Duterte promised to fight for their rights and is proving himself one project after another. He made it so easy and fast for them to process documents needed for their jobs abroad. What used to be an hour or two wait is reduced to approximately 15 minutes. He set aside a budget for their plane tickets in case they need to go back home. He formed a force under the Department of Foreign Affairs to track down abuses committed by employers and recruitment agencies. He later expressed his desire for them: to be able to come back home and live permanently without the threat of poverty and hunger – back to the arms of their loved one, back home.