Calls on them to help revitalize PH and have faith in its bright future
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rallied members of the Filipino community in the US to do their part—through tourism receipts and investments—in helping the economy recover amid the lingering pandemic, even as he assured them that the “future looks bright” with his administration’s development plan.
“As we continue to search for more solutions to revitalize our beloved country, it is not the time to look back at the past. It is now time to look to the future. And the future looks bright. The economy we expect to grow by six and a half to seven and a half percent this year,” Mr. Marcos said in his speech at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center Monday morning (Manila time).
“We must keep the momentum going…To our kababayans here in New York, here in the United States, and to our kababayans all over the world, you will still play a very critical role in the economic transformation of our country. Even if you are very far from the Philippines, your beloved country needs you, especially now.”
“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,” the President added.
For his part, Speaker Martin Romualdez also hailed the Filipino community in the United States for their warm welcome and support to President Marcos.
Romualdez, along with other members of the Philippine delegation to the UN, accompanied President Marcos during his meeting with the Filipino community.
“Your warm welcome and expression of strong support certainly serve not only as an inspiration to our President but also an affirmation of the overwhelming mandate he carries as he engages with other world leaders to articulate our country’s position on some of the critical issues facing the world today such as climate change, and food security, and rule of law,” Romualdez said.
Mr. Marcos urged members of the Filipino community to invest in agri-business ventures as he cited his administration’s push to attain food security.
“It is a challenge. Attaining food sovereignty is not impossible with your help. I count on our agriculturists, our specialists abroad to contribute to this endeavor. I call on you and other Filipino overseas to invest in agribusiness ventures in the Philippines and become what they call now agripreneurs, yourselves, to help revitalize our countryside,” he said.
“You can encourage your young relatives back home to take college courses related to agriculture. If you have idle lands in the Philippines, ask your families to take care of them and help them develop them for agriculture. Have them plant ube and calamansi which are in demand abroad, but we have very little supply. Every initiative to secure a bountiful harvest counts,” he added.
The President also appealed to Filipino scientists, engineers, and technical experts to return to the Philippines under the Balik Scientist Program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
“Let us reverse the brain drain. Let us bring back the brilliance of Filipinos to the Philippines and help bring the Philippines to heights it has not reached before,” he said.
He encouraged Filipinos in the US to “do just as much as our diplomats could do by inviting your employers to visit the Philippines not just to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of our country and our people but also to explore possible trade investment opportunities there.”
“All of you are encouraged to bring home your friends to allow them to experience for themselves why the Philippines has become one of the top tourism destinations in Asia that offers the best islands, the most amazing beaches, and stunning landscapes that cannot be found, cannot be bettered anywhere in the world. Most importantly, introduce them to the grace, the kindness, the hospitality, and the graciousness of all Filipinos,” he said.
“As a matter of fact, now that travel is allowed, you yourselves should be balikbayans and book that long overdue trip back home. Let us see each other in the Philippines,” the President said.
There are around 4.3 million Filipinos living and working in the US, according to Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.
Speaker Romualdez assured the Filipino community in the US of the full and unwavering support of the House of Representatives for the programs of President Marcos meant to improve the country’s economy.
He also lauded the vital contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and migrants like the country’s economy through the dollar remittances they send to their families and relatives in the Philippines.
“At this juncture, when our economy is buffeted by external factors, your remittances help to cushion the pressure that has been driving down the value of our peso with the unfortunate consequence of increasing prices of basic commodities,” Romualdez said.
According to the latest BSP report, remittances from Filipinos working abroad increased by 2.3 percent year-on-year to reach $3.17 billion in July from $3.17 billion in the same month of 2021.
The United States remained the biggest source of cash remittances, followed by Singapore and Saudi Arabia.
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