Filipinos in Qatar enthralled by Duterte hard talk peppered with humour and hope
15 Apr 2017 - 21:33
Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte with Doha-based singer Haina Uddin at Lusail Multipurpose Hall. Pic: Salim Matramkot
DOHA: Nearly 7,000 adoring Filipinos applauded Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte as he delivered an hour-long impassioned speech punctuated with humour which was interrupted with countless ovations in the evening at Lusail Multipurpose Hall.
Duterte is on an official visit in Doha which marks the last leg of his week-long Middle East tour which took him to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain before coming to Qatar. He will be leaving today.
The people started to congregate at the venue as early as 12 noon and patiently waited for several hours for Duterte who surprised the crowd by arriving 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled community meeting. To the delight of the audience, he sang "Ikaw"- one of his favourite songs which he sang during his campaign days- along with Doha-based singer Haina Uddin.
He began his speech by sharing the story of his life tracing his remarkable journey in governance from his humble beginnings as mayor of Davao City to his decision to run for president of the Philippines in which he highlighted his will to fight drugs and weed out corruption in the government.
"Obey the rules. Do not destroy the Philippines," he warns those involved in illegal drugs trade.
He assured the Filipinos the country's economy is 'doing well' and that other countries are willing to help the Philippines such as China and Japan.
While lauding their contributions to the economy, he thanked the overseas Filipino workers for their sacrifices.
"The Philippines is only for those who have sacrificed - like you," he said.
In his speech, Duterte expressed his utmost gratitude to the Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The President was with other Cabinet members and other government officials, whom he introduced at the beginning of his speech including Labour and Employment Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Rosell Ubial, Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Presedential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, Mindanao Development Authority Chairman Abdul Khayr Alonto, TESDA Director General Guiling Mamondiong, Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs Abdullah Mamao, Special Envoy to the Middle East Roy Cimato, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano and Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, among others.
Addressing the Philippines-Qatar Business Forum organised by Qatar Chamber earlier, Duterte said that his agro-based island nation, an archipelago composed of about 7,641 islands, which produces dozens of export-oriented crops such as banana, cacao, cassava, coffee, rubber and scores of other cash crops, offers promising opportunities of investment for Qatari investors.
“We will honour any contract that we sign. The Philippines is fully committed to all its trade partners. It is now much more easier to establish a business in the Philippines than before. I am committed to transforming my country into a completely corruption-free society, no matter whatever it takes,” said the President.
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