SINGAPORE – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to arrive in Singapore on the midnight of Thursday, December 15. It's his first state visit there, and Filipinos in the Lion City are looking forward to it.
Pia Ranada reports.
PIA RANADA, REPORTING: I’m here in Singapore and behind me is Lucky Plaza a favorite watering hole of Filipinos based here. This is the mall where you’ll find a lot of Filipino establishments, Filipino restaraunts and shops. In fact, you’ll find two branches of Jollibee in this building alone. So a lot of Filipinos here in Singapore are excited for President Duterte’s state visit here starting Thursday, December 15. He’s arriving around 12:30 am on Thursday and we asked some kababayans what they think of his visit and what they think of him as a leader and as a person.
If you want to find Filipinos in Singapore, you go to Lucky Plaza.
The Filipinos we talked to all know about President Duterte’s state visit and have something to say about his leadership style.
ALEJANDRO ANGELES, OFW IN SINGAPORE: Q: Anong feeling niyo today na parating na si president?
Siyempre masaya gusto ko siya makita.
Q: Pupunta kayo doon?
Hindi kasi busy sa trabaho.
Q: Bakit niyo siya gusto makita?
Kasi siya inspiration ko dito.
Q: Bakit po?)
Kasi diba yung Pilipino ang laki ng binagbago hindi katulad ng dati na parang wala kang, hindi naman freedom pero wala kang safety kahit saan ka magpunta parang hindi ka safe, di katulad ng ngayon. Sana parang pareho dito sa singapore.
(What do you feel about the President coming here?) Of course happy because I want to see him. (Are you going to his event?) No because I'm busy with work. (Why do you want to see him?) Because he is my inspiration here. (Why?) Because Filipinos have experienced much change unlike before, you weren't safe wherever you go, unlike now. I hope the Philippines becomes similar to Singapore.
Angelo doesn’t think Duterte is behind the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
ANGELO ANGELES, OFW IN SINGAPORE: Maraming namamatay kasi sa shabu mga drug lords, sila sila rin naman nagpapatayan kasi para hindi sila isumbong ng mga kasamahan nila papatayin din sila ng mga kasamahan nila.
Q: So hindi kayo naniniwala na sa gobyerno yung mga patayan?
Many people are dying because of shabu and drug lords. They are the ones killing off each other so that one doesn't tell on their associates. (So you don't believe the government is behind the killings?) No.
YONI, OFW IN SINGAPORE: Of course siyempre happy kasi lahat ng mga Pilipino dito gusto siya eh. Kahit na ako lagi kong inaano siya sa Facebook yung mga ano mga updates sa kanya binabasa ko. syempre natutuwa.
(Of course, I'm happy because all the Filipinos here like him. Even me, I always check Facebook to check on updates about him. Of course, it amuses me.)
Abigail Ubalde, who we catch feasting on bulalo in the food court, is happy about the Duterte administration’s policy on Overseas Employment Certificates or OEC.
ABIGAIL UBALDE, OFW IN SINGAPORE: Ayun po talaga ako po saludo ako sa ginawa ng administration ngayon dahil wala na pong OEC ngayon pag uuwi kami sa Pilipinas which is, kasi domestic helper po ako dito so kaming mga domestic helper bago kami kumuha ng OEC sobrang dami naming pinagdadaanan sobrang dami pong mga kailangan namin bayaran sa eabassy para lang makakuha ng OEC which is yung mga S-Pass kagaya nila na may mga pass eh ang bilis bilis lang po kumuha ng OEC 5 dollars lang ok na, samantalang kami 300 dollars pa yung kailangan namin gawa ng marami silang requirements pero ngayon laking tulong na wala nang OEC.
I really salute what the administration now is doing because there is no more OEC. I'm a domestic helper here and we domestic helpers have to go through so much just to get an OEC. We have to pay a lot to the embassy whereas those with passes get it fast for only SGD5. We have to pay SGD300 due to so many requirements. Now, it's a big help there is no OEC.
It’s no wonder many Filipinos here want to see the president.
80% of the 180,000 Filipinos based in Singapore voted for Duterte in the last elections.
On Friday, December 16, Duterte will meet wth 7,000 Filipinos here, which the Philippine embassy says will be the biggest gathering of Filipinos ever in Singapore.
I’ll be following President Duterte’s activities here in Singapore so stay tuned on Rappler for more updates and more stories.
Pia Ranada, Rappler, Singapore – Rappler.com