President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. urged OFWs to keep buying condominium units and property back home as a way of investing in their home country, as he thanked them for the continuous flow of remittances.
Speaking to the Filipino community in New Jersey ahead of his attendance at the UN General Assembly, Marcos honored overseas Filipino workers, particularly health workers, for bringing pride to the Philippines on the global stage.
"Sa gitna ng trahedya kayo ang naging haligi ng pag-asa, kayo ang bagong bayaning Pilipino. Maraming, maraming salamat muli sa inyong serbisyo at sa inyong sakripisyo," Marcos said at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Invoking the Filipino Bayanihan spirit, Marcos Jr. appealed to OFWs to "contribute meaningful change back home" by investing, particularly in agriculture to ensure food security for the country.
"All of you are enjoined to continue investing in the Philippines. Do not stop buying condominium units and other real estate back home," he said.
"Invest and open businesses, maliit, malaki, sari-sari store, malaking kompanya, lahat puwede. Makakatulong lahat ‘yun," he added.
Dollar remittances from OFWs hit an all-time high of $34.88 billion in 2021 compared with $33.19 billion in 2020 despite strict lockdowns, helping keep the Philippine economy afloat in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marcos Jr. said around 40% of total remittances last year were from OFWs in the U.S.
"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," Marcos Jr. said.
The President also urged OFW parents to encourage their children in the Philippines to take up agriculture courses to help revitalize the sector.
Marcos Jr. has repeatedly said that achieving food security and revitalizing the Philippine agriculture sector is a top priority of his administration in light of shortages and supply woes this year.
Since the start of the year, Filipinos have seen prices of basic goods shoot up and shortages in several food items such as sugar, and potatoes.