Amid vitriol from President Rodrigo Duterte, US President Barack Obama has hailed Filipino-Americans "for the many ways they have enriched our society."
"They have been the artists who challenge us, the educators who keep us informed, and the laborers of our growing economy," Obama said in a special message dated October 1 in celebration of the Filipino-American History Month.
"And throughout our history, they have served as members of our Armed Forces, helping safeguard our Nation and the values upon which we stand," he added.
An earlier tirade from Duterte had prompted Obama to cancel their bilateral meeting during the ASEAN Summit in Laos last month.
Obama, in his special message, also took note of how Filipino-Americans helped the US military during World War II, although he admitted that their desire to petition their loved ones have been hampered by the US immigration system — an issue, he said, his administration addressed.
"This year, my Administration launched the Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program, which enables certain Filipino-American veterans to request that their family members join them in the United States as they wait for their green cards," he said.
Obama said this policy "will allow loved ones to provide support and care for elderly veterans and their spouses."
"This program is an important reminder that we must suppose those who serve our Nation not just in times of war, but throughout their lives," Obama said.
Obama also thanked Filipino-Americans who "have lent their unique voices and talents to changing our country for the better."
"Their immeasurable contributions to our Nation reaffirm that as Americans we will always be bound to each other in common purpose and by our shared hopes for the future," he said. —KBK, GMA News