President Rodrigo R. Duterte took pride in Filipino migrant workers who have been on the front lines in the “healing, caring” for others abroad at this time of the pandemic.
In his pre-recorded speech delivered from Malacañang Palace at the High-Level General Debate of the 75th United Nations General Assembly aired early Wednesday (Manila time), Duterte said like many others, Filipino migrant workers have been devastated by the pandemic, losing not only livelihood “but also their health and lives as well.”
“Yet they go on in the front lines, healing, caring for others in the different parts of the world,” he said.
For the sacrifices of front-liners, Duterte lauded them for putting their lives on the line even in countries not their own.
“So also do we honor and recognize the health care professionals who selflessly answered the call to combat the Covid-19 pandemic despite its virulence and unknown characteristics,” he said.
The President assured that in the face of the global health crisis, the Philippines would do its part in the pooling of global resources.
“Our health workers are among the best,” he said.
Duterte, along with other notable world leaders, addressed the global body in its annual meeting of heads of state and government at the beginning of the General Assembly session.
For the first time in its history, the UN held its General Assembly virtually.
No world leader has traveled to New York this year because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Duterte also thanked UN member states for the help extended to Filipino migrant workers, particularly those severely affected by the pandemic.
“We thank the countries that have provided Filipino migrants with residence permits, access to testing, treatment, and related health services in this pandemic,” he said.
The Philippine government has embarked on an “unprecedented” repatriation program for at least 345,000 overseas Filipino workers who needed to come home due to the pandemic, Duterte said.
“We have brought back half and are bringing back the rest,” he said, adding that the Philippines has also brought back most of its seafarers who were stranded because of Covid-19 restrictions in different parts of the world.
Duterte said the country pioneered with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) the “Green Lane” for safe changes of seafaring crews.
“In these times, we need stronger cooperation in promoting and protecting the rights of migrants, regardless of their migrant status,” he said.
Duterte noted that all countries must adhere to the Global Compact For Safe, Orderly, and Regularly Migration.
“Unless states include all migrants in their response to this pandemic, ‘no one among us is safe, until everyone is safe’, as the Secretary-General has said,” he added. PNA.GOV.PH