President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. received a rousing welcome from hundreds of Filipinos upon his arrival in New York at the start of a six-day visit to the United States.
More than 1,500 Filipinos turned out at the Prudential Hall of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark to listen to the President as he extolled the contribution of the more than 4.5 million members of the Filipino Community in the United States.
According to the Philippine Consulate General, many more Filipinos wanted to attend the event but could no longer be accommodated. In his remarks, Marcos paid tribute to nurses and other front-liners for their role during the pandemic where at least 200 Filipino nurses lost their lives.
Marcos urged them to strengthen their connections with the Philippines and thanked them for the various initiatives they have been undertaking back home from medical missions to scholarships to research work and drones for disaster assessment.
With 10 million kababayans all over the world, “as your President I understand and know fully well the significant impact of the Philippine diaspora on our motherland, especially in terms of supporting our post-pandemic economic recovery,” said Marcos.
Dollar remittances, he noted, “have in fact hit an all-time high of 34.88 billion dollars in 2021,” when the country was just starting to recover from the pandemic.
This sum “represents a 5.1 percent increase from the 33.19 billion dollars recorded in 2020,” added Marcos, and stressed that, “our kababayans here, kayo lang dito sa United States, halos 40 porsiyento ng remittance noong 2021 ay galing dito sa Amerika.” The observation was met with warm applause.
While the economy was “really down” 2020 and 2021, “when there were no jobs, and we were all on lockdowns,” the Filipinos in the US continued to think of helping their families and their country.
“You set this record-breaking figure even when many of you were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Maraming salamat sa inyo sa lahat ng ginagawa ninyo. Maraming salamat sa inyong remittance na ginagawa na para pagtulong sa ating ekonomiya,” the President added.