MANILA – Despite his busy schedule, including preparations for this weekend’s flight to Japan for a working visit, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte found time to oblige a California-based 11-year-old Fil-Am boy who needed to do a Nationality Report and wondered if the President would be so kind as to greet his teacher?
“Andre, I received your letter-request and I’m most happy to oblige,” said Duterte in a videotaped message showing him in an all-blue casual attire standing in front of a Christmas tree in what seemed a simply laid-out government office.
But before this, he began by obliging the first wish of the boy, André Esteban, and said, “Good day, I’d like to say hello to teacher Mrs. Ricchiuti, and her students at Fresno Adventist Academy in California…especially to you, Andre Esteban.”
Duterte then continued with an exhortation to Andre, who had described himself as a “proud Filipino” who wanted to let others know about the country and its leader. “I’m sure you’ll do a great report about our beloved country, the Philippines. Continue being a good son and study well, and may God bless you and your family and all of us on planet Earth,” Duterte told Andrei.
The videotaping was arranged with other Palace offices by Special Assistant to the President, Secretary Christopher Bong Go, who had earlier written Andre to let him know Duterte had seen his request. Here’s Secretary Go’s reply to Andrei, as shared by Malacañang Palace: “Hello, Andre. Your letter reached the President and he gladly agreed to your request. Rest assured that PRRD is working hard to build a brighter future for children like you. We also hope to meet you in person here in the Philippines soon. We are confident that you will do great in your report. Hope this helps. God bless you, Andre.”
A more detailed account of how Andre got help from President Duterte was provided by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol. In a Facebook post, Piñol, a former journalist, gave this report:
‘I am a proud Filipino!’
FIL-AM KID ASKS PRES. DUTERTE:
‘PLEASE SAY HI TO MY TEACHER’
By Manny Piñol
I woke up early today and saw a message from lawyer Franklin Gacal, councilor of General Santos City and legal adviser to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, which contained an image of a letter sent by an 11-year-old Filipino-American boy from Fresno, California.
In the handwritten letter, Andre Gabriel Custodio Esteban said:
“Dear President Duterte,
“My name is Andre Gabriel Custodio Esteban from Fresno, CA, USA. I am 11 years old and in 6th Grade at Fresno Adventist Academy.
“I am a proud Filipino and I really like you as our President and I hope to meet you someday.
“I am doing a Nationality Report about the Philippines on Nov. 15, 2017. I am interested in talking about you in my class.
“I know that you are very busy because you are a hardworking President and I admire you greatly. But can I ask you a special favor? Can you please send me a short video of you saying hello to my teacher, Mrs. Ricchiuti (Ri-kyu-ti), my classmates and I?
“Maraming salamat po. God Bless you po.
Andrei’s mom flags DU30 on FB
According to Piñol, Andre’s mother, Almyra Grace Custodio, posted the image of Andrei’s letter to the Facebook page Duterte Kami with this message:
“My son wrote a letter to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. He has a special request to him for his Nationality Report on Nov. 15, 2017. Can you please help us how to send this to our dear president?”
And Piñol wondered aloud: “Will President Duterte grant 11-year-old Andre’s request? Knowing this man, I know he will. I am nowhere near him right now and I know he is set to leave for an official visit to Japan tomorrow but I am posting this in my Facebook page now knowing it will reach his attention.
“I am also requesting the Presidential Communications Operations Offie (PCOO) to please do the video clip of the President’s message to Mrs. Ricchiuti, Andre and his classmates. This will certainly make Andre a prouder Filipino.”
WATCH PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S VIDEOTAPED MESSAGE TO ANDRE, BELOW: