President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday (Manila time) assured Filipino workers in the United States that the Philippine government is creating more opportunities to entice them to return and use their skills and talent back home.
Marcos made this pledge just a day before his participation in high-level discussions at the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
“Let us reverse the brain drain. Ibalik natin ang galing ng Pilipino sa Pilipinas (Let us bring back the talent of Filipinos to the Philippines) and help bring the Philippines to heights it has not reached before,” he said in his speech during a meeting with the Filipino community in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
He said his administration intends to “bring back” an education system that prepares coming generations for better jobs, especially when it comes to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.
Marcos said the government will also “expand” the Duterte administration’s infrastructure program to sustain the momentum of the country’s economic growth.
He said they will also work on eliminating “inefficiencies in the bureaucracy” to enhance public service and pave the way for ease of doing business.
Marcos also enjoined Filipino workers abroad to follow the footsteps of those who have carried out “impactful projects” that benefit their kababayans such as conducting medical missions in far-flung warriors, constructing school buildings and houses for indigents, and providing scholarships and funding to aid research efforts to find cures for rare diseases.
“Kailangan kayo ng ating mahal na Inang Bayan (Our Motherland needs you). I stand here before you today to invoke the quintessential Filipino spirit, the spirit of Bayanihan, and to challenge each and every one of you to contribute meaningful change back home,” he said.
He encouraged Filipinos in the US to travel back to the Philippines and continue investing in condos, real estate as well as small and big businesses to contribute to creating jobs and building a better life for all Filipinos.
To protect the rights and welfare of Filipinos in the US, Marcos directed the Department of Migrant Workers to conduct a systems review on how government can serve the needs of distressed Filipinos.
He also instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs to ensure that foreign service posts remain responsive to their needs, especially in the delivery of passports and other consular services.
Meanwhile, he also recognized the Filipino nurses in the US who died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I take this opportunity to extend my condolences to the grieving families and friends here and back home. I can promise you that this heroism of yours, our kababayans, will not fade into obscurity,” he said.
Marcos reiterated the need for unity, one of the key messages during his presidential campaign.
“Pagkakaisa pa rin ang ating sigaw. Hindi natin makakamit ang hinahangad nating pag-unlad ng ating Inang Bayan kung tayo ay watak-watak. Ito ng mensahne na dala ko para sa inyo, pagkakaisa ang kailangan sa pagunlad ng ating bansa. Kayang-kaya kung sama-sama (Our cry is still unity. We cannot achieve the development we seek for our Motherland if we are disunited. This is the message I bring for you, unity is necessary for the development of our country. We can do it if we do it together),” he said.
Aside from addressing the UNGA, Marcos and the Philippine delegation are also expected to meet investors and other business leaders.
There are around 4.3 million Filipinos living and working in the US, according to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
This working visit marks the President’s third overseas trip following his state visits to Indonesia and Singapore early this month. (PNA)