A photo of President Rodrigo Duterte on the government-issued IDs for overseas Filipino workers has drawn flak on social media, with a Palace official saying the Chief Executive would not have approved of its design.
Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson posted on her Facebook account a photo of the OFW card bearing the President’s photo, something which earned the criticism of anti-Duterte accounts on the social media platform.
“Can we make it fair and square by removing Mr. Duterte’s image so that the OFW can have a peaceful and stress-free life? This is totally wrong! It’s better to put the HEROES, or the flag…but Duterte’s image? My goodness! What is happening to our country?” said one Facebook user.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III defended the placing of Duterte’s photo on the ID, saying it was meant to highlight the President’s advocacy for the OFWs.
“I just want to to underscore yung concern ng President sa kapakanan ng mga manggagawa,” Bello told ABS-CBN News.
“Pinapakita namin na ito ay project niya…Hindi naman siya kandidato.”
According to Bello, the OFW card shall serve as the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) of OFWs.
He said the cards will also soon be recognized by other government agencies such as Social Security System, PhilHealth, and Pag-IBIG Fund, among others.
Bello said an initial batch of 500 OFW cards have been distributed and the government intends to distribute the cards to all OFWs and former OFWs.
He added the cards have no expiration, meaning it will be “part of the system” even after Duterte steps down.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque III, meanwhile, said he will seek clarification from the President about the matter, adding the Chief Executive probably would not have approved of it.
“Hindi ba pati ang mga pictures niya sa mga offices pinapalitan niya ng mga heroes? I don’t think he knew about this,” Roque said.
Sought for further clarification by ABS-CBN News on whether the design of the OFW car was approved by the President, Bello said the design was an “initiative of DOLE.”
Duterte enjoys strong support among OFWs, garnering a huge number of votes from the sector during the 2016 presidential polls.