The partner of President Duterte, HoneyletAvanceña, was given the mic to introduce the President but instead, she used it to pay tribute to the lives of Overseas Filipino Workers all over the world.
Honeylet herself was previously an OFW which is why she knows the hardships endured by a migrant worker. The 5-minute speech of Honeylet was especially rare since she does not always do speaking lines during previous major presidential events.
Most of the time, she accompanies the president in several official functions, even those that are held abroad, she usually stays on the sidelines.
However, events took a different turn on May 30 at the Palace Hotel in Japan. In front of a huge number of Filipinos and more who are watching it live stream, Honeylet was able to bridge her admiration to all OFWs.
“I am happy and overjoyed to see all of you Filipinos here. I was in America for 4 years but I never saw Filipinos show love like this, unite for the country. That’s why it makes me cry,” says Honeylet as she fights back tears.
She also describes OFWs as having heroic efforts.
“You have the heroic efforts. Why heroic efforts? Hero in the sense that you work hard, you know that your relatives in the Philippines don’t know the hardship. The work is different in another country. I know that. It’s like, you have no rest, you don’t understand,” says Honeylet.
She also praised OFWs for having “strength of character”. Honeylet, who works as a nurse, said that despite exhaustion and sadness, she needs to go to the hospital and stay focused on her tasks.
“You still have the presence of mind, you still know how to take care of the patient. You’re exhausted be but when you arrive at work, you immediately buckle down to work,” says Honeylet.
The partner of the President also referred to OFWs as “outstanding employees”.
“When they are pretty, don’t remove them from my presence because I will lose inspiration. But for this moment, inspiration is built-in because my missus (wife) is there,” says President Duterte when it was his time to speak.
Watch her speech here