PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met on Sunday, September 4, 2022, the Filipino community as soon as he arrived in Indonesia for a three-day state visit.Marcos thanked the Filipinos for their love for the country and especially the sacrifices they endure to give their families better lives.”Your success here makes us all back home, very, very, very proud. Every time we hear news of yet another success by our OFWs, we are always saying thank you for the glory you bring to our country, for the good name, that you burnish and polish our country while you are abroad. Iba talaga ang galing ng Pinoy saan man sa mundo,” he said.The President assured that his government will put the protection of their rights and welfare among their top priority.”Alam din po namin na hindi lahat ng OFW na nagtatrabaho sa abroad ay namili na magtrabaho dito sa abroad. Workers are abroad not because it’s a matter of choice, but they are away from our familiar and beautiful shores, constrained to leave loved ones due to the lack of opportunities back home,” he said.”That’s why I, together with the Cabinet, am fully committed to making sure that every Filipino’s economic, social, and cultural potential is fully realized in our own country,” he added.In a separate press conference, Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) secretary Susan Ople said she would meet with the Filipino community leaders in Indonesia on Monday, September 5, to hear their suggestions, concerns and grievances.Among the issues raised prior to Marcos’ visit to Indonesia was the case of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina who was sentenced to death in Indonesia over drug trafficking conviction.Marcos, however, did not mention the matter during the meeting.Ople said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will be taking the lead as it has the memory and knowledge about the case since it started.She also noted the importance of “speaking with one voice on a case” that has a “very sensitive” dimension.Earlier, DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo said Marcos will “most likely” bring up Veloso’s cases during the state visit where he is set to meet Indonesia President Joko Widodo.Veloso was arrested in April 2010 over the 2.6 kilograms of heroin recovered from her suitcase as she arrived in Indonesia.She maintained her innocence as she was not aware that she was carrying illegal drugs.She said her godsister convinced her to go to Indonesia and carry the suitcase after losing her job in Malaysia.She was sentenced to death in October 2010 but was spared due to a moratorium on capital punishment enacted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.In 2015, she was again scheduled for execution by firing squad following the election of Widodo as the country’s top government official.It was cancelled following the arrest of her illegal recruiters in the Philippines which prompted for the government of then President Benigno Aquino III to make final appeal for clemency on the basis that her testimony could be invaluable in prosecuting her alleged recruiter. (SunStar Philippines)