ASKED if overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will support Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte if he decides to run for president, an ‘if-and-but’ reply came from a known OFW support group leader based in the Middle East.

“Mayor Duterte is an option being considered by OFWs if he finally decides to run for president,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator.

Monterona, however, quickly added “Mayor Duterte as an option, we mean that we need to hear and know first Mayor Duterte’s program for OFWs; his stand on forced migration phenomenon, how a Duterte presidency will solve this problem.”

“We would like to also hear from Mayor Duterte if he will continue the large-scale export of Filipino labor abroad. What protection and welfare programs he will implement for OFWs abroad and their families,” Monterona averred.

“In other words”, Monterona said, “Mayor Duterte should declare first that he is running. Second, if his program or platform of governance will address the root causes of forced migration and chronic poverty, will provide lasting stability to the Filipino nation, if he is for an independent foreign policy, and protection and welfare of Filipino workers abroad.”

Monterona further said, “Those who are presumed to be running as president, we already have some hints on their stand on addressing the root causes of forced migration and poverty, their economic policies which are subservient to US-imposed neoliberal policy. Kay mayor Duterte baka may bago?”

Isa rin sa mga dapat tingnan ay ang allegation of human rights violations against Mayor Duterte,” Monterona said.

As for Migrante, as an international alliance of OFWs and their families, it will certainly talk about presidential endorsement in the proper time and its national office will formally announce it, according to Monterona.

A close estimate of 12 million OFWs are now living and working abroad. And it is believed that OFWs, mostly breadwinners, can influence the vote of the members of their families in the Philippines.

OFWs, too, can vote as overseas absentee voters (OAVs) now numbering to 1.4-M as per the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recent released statement.

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