Pres. Duterte arrives in Hong Kong for 2-day working visit

HONG KONG — President Rodrigo Duterte arrived here Thursday night for a two-day working visit on the heels of his successful trip to Cambodia to attend the World Economic Forum.

President Duterte and his official delegation touched down at the Hong Kong International Airport at 10:49 p.m.

The Chief Executive was welcomed by Consul General Bernardita Catalla; So Pui-wan Fiona, chief officer of the Visits Section, Government Secretariat Protocol Division; and Honorary Aide-de-Camp Louis Lau, Chief Police Inspector of the Hong Kong Police Force.

While in Hong Kong, he is scheduled to meet with the Filipino community at the Regal Airport Hotel.

Some 210,000 Filipinos are working and residing in the Special Administrative Region, majority of whom are household service workers.

In an interview, Dr. Michael Manio, who works at The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, Queen Mary Hospital, expressed his excitement and eagerness to meet and greet the President.

“It’s very overwhelming because I heard that, because I’ve been here for seven years. So far, ang napag-alam ko na first president na magvi-visit dito (I learned that he would be the first president to visit Hong Kong) or not even the first president, na magvi-visit dito (to make a visit) to be with the community and it’s so nice na merong isang presidente na nagmamalasakit sa kanyang kababayan dito para mapakinggan ang kanilang mga hinaing (it’s so nice that we have a president who cares for his compatriots here and listens to their concerns),” Manio said.

He likewise expressed his support for the Duterte administration in its fight against corruption and illegal drugs, noting that he would want to see a better Philippines should he decide to return to the country in the future.

“I myself, I want to go back to our country if there are opportunities there, and so that I could promote our country in some ways. That is a country where there’s love, there’s harmony and there’s peace around. Masayang-masaya ang ating mga kababayan nung malaman nila na darating ang ating Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte and I’m one of those na mag-a-attend (Our compatriots were delighted upon learning that President Duterte would arrive, and I’m one of those who will attend). So I’m very happy,” he said.

Manio wished the President good health and called on Filipinos to unite and support the government in its efforts to make the country safe and secure.

“As much as possible, we want to support our President regardless of kung anuman ang nangyari (whatever happened in the past), in order for us to move on, to move forward because kung hindi tayo magtutulungan, walang mangyayari sa atin (without each other’s cooperation, we would not move forward),” he said.

He noted that Filipinos working abroad would one day want to come home to a Philippines that one could be proud of.

Another OFW, Rosabelle Woolf, general manager of door-to-door cargo service AFreight (Asia Pacific) Ltd., praised President Duterte for the reforms he has established in the country.

Woolf, who hails from Davao City and has been living in Hong Kong for more than 25 years, said she was impressed by President Duterte’s leadership in Davao and she believes that he could make significant changes in Metro Manila as well.

“Ngayon kakaiba na. (It is different now.) I find it safer na nakakapaglakad na ako sa MOA to Sea Residences na hindi ako natatakot (I find I could walk around MOA and Sea Residences without fear),” she said, recalling her recent visit to Manila.

She also observed some changes at the airport. “Maganda na ‘yung mga nangyayari (Good things have been happening),” she added.

From Hong Kong, the President will proceed to Beijing, China to attend the Belt and Road Forum with other world leaders. PND/