A Filipino-American leader criticized Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for saying he will "not lift a finger" for undocumented overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) deported from the US.
Lolita Lledo, associate director of the Pilipino Workers Center in Los Angeles, pointed out that many undocumented OFWs even campaigned and sent money for Duterte in the last elections.
"Siyempre hindi kami natuwa (Of course we weren't happy)," Lledo said on Friday, February 3, when asked to comment on Duterte's statement.
Referring to undocumented OFWs, she said in a mix of English and Filipino: "We just wanted to remind President Duterte that they are still Filipino citizens. The passports they hold are Filipino passports."
Lledo made these remarks before Filipino journalists visiting the US for a reporting tour organized by the Foreign Press Centers of the US State Department. She was reacting to Duterte's statement on January 29 that he will not help undocumented Filipinos affected by the immigration policies of US President Donald Trump.
Duterte said he will avoid meddling in the same way that Trump promised not to interfere in his war on drugs, which former US president Barack Obama criticized for alleged human rights abuses.
Duterte, who is known for his iron-fisted stance toward law enforcement, told Filipinos in the US: "You better be on the right track. If you are not allowed to stay there where you are staying, get out. Because if you are caught and deported, I will not lift a finger. You know that it is a violation of the law."
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