BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei Darussalam (DWDD) – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte received a warm welcome from the Filipino community in Brunei Darussalam during a get together held at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex at Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital city of Brunei.
As the President entered the indoor stadium, the audience, composed of approximately 7,000 Filipinos living and working in Brunei, cheered for the President and the accompanying members of his delegation. President Duterte greeted the audience with his signature bow.
Two young Filipino sisters who won singing competitions in the United States of America (USA) and are currently living in Brunei sang Filipino songs for President Duterte. As a gesture of appreciation, he walked from the stage towards a platform at the middle of the stadium, where the sisters performed, and shook hands with them.
In his speech before the audience, President Duterte reiterated his administration’s firm commitment to fight and eradicate the illegal drug trade in the country, which remains to be a serious national concern, and explained that this problem has to stop because it is destroying the country.
“Why am I here? I am here because I love my country. I love the Filipino people… Do not destroy my country… Do not destroy the youth of the land and deprive us of a brighter tomorrow for the next generation,” he said.
The President also talked about his strict order to all government agencies to remove corruption, and to provide faster and more efficient services to the people. He said that putting the country in order would be a tough ride, so he asked the people to stand with him and be at his side.
He added that, “In the fullness of God’s time, gaganda ang buhay natin. With the grace of our Allah… I give you my word. I give you my honor. Talagang malinis itong gobyernong ito.”
Upon mentioning his critics, President Duterte explained, “the issue is not really whether you like me or not as your president. The issue is graft and corruption, criminality, drugs. Matapos ko lang ‘yang tatlo na ‘yan, maganda na ang bayan ko… Ano’ng gusto nilang gawin ko sa bayan ko? They keep on threatening me about sending me to the international court of law… I am willing to rot in jail for the Filipinos… How can you send to prison a president declaring war against the drug?”
As he finished his speech, the President said that he “will work to what is strictly in accordance with what God wanted me… Kasi nga, ang pagka-presidente ko, destiny. It’s a miracle to me. So, He wants me to improve my country, stop corruption and make the lives of the Filipinos comfortable.”
There are about 23,000 Filipinos working and living in Brunei composed mostly of professionals. Ambassador Meynardo Montealegre said that they are “highly regarded and well respected by their employers even His Majesty, The Sultan himself has high regard for Filipino workmanship and professionalism, and their honesty and integrity in their work. Many of the Bruneians, including government officials, recognize the contribution of the Filipinos in the economic development of Brunei Darussalam.” RTVM / MCAG