Obama, Clinton hail Fil-Ams’ contributions in US history

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US President Barack Obama has recognized the contribution of Filipino-Americans in his country’s history, despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s continuous tirades against him.

In his message for the celebration of the Filipino-American History Month, Obama said the two races “will always be bound to each other,” as he lauded Filipinos’ “integral role in shaping the life of our country.”

“An unshakable faith in the promise of America has guided people to our shores since our founding. When they arrived, many of those who first settled here suffered setbacks and faced challenges in their pursuit of the American dream. But with relentless optimism, they held their heads high and laid down their roots - building our country into the beacon of hope it is today,” Obama said in his message dated Oct.1.

“They have been the artists who challenge us, the educators who keep us informed, and the laborers of our growing economy. 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 said.

Obama also recognized the role of Filipino-Americans in “fighting back the tide of tyranny” during the Second World War, as he trumpeted his administration’s Filipino World War II Veterans Parole program “which enables certain Filipino-American veterans to request that their family members join them in the US as they wait for their green cards.”

“As we mark this special month, we celebrate the ways Filipino-Americans 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,” Obama added.

Obama’s anointed successor and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, for her part, took to social media to share her message to Filipino-Americans.

“It’s Filipino American History Month, so let’s honor their many contributions - from serving in WWII to strengthening our labor movement,” Clinton wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

In his latest anti-West sentiments, Duterte on Tuesday said he would cut ties with US during his term and forge alliances with China and Russia amid criticisms against his bloody war on drugs. In a separate speech, he lashed out anew at Obama and the European Union, saying the former “can go to hell” while the latter “better choose purgatory.”

Duterte earlier threatened to stop the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) and end war games between US and the Philippines.

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