Digong, the ladies’ man
This columnist was with President Digong during his visit to China and Hong Kong last week.
I witnessed the royal treatment given to him by the Chinese government in Boao, a spruced up and postcard-perfect convention town in Hainan province, and Hong Kong.
Our President had more security detail than other delegates at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference which was attended by 20 chief executive officers, or CEOs, from big companies in the United States, China and several other rich countries.
In Hong Kong, security was so tight many locals who wanted to see Digong could not enter the InterContinental Hotel at Tsim Sha Tsui district.
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I won’t report about the huge success of the President’s third visit to China since he assumed office because it’s all over the news.
But I’d like to give a firsthand account on how our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Hong Kong received Digong.
The site of the President’s meeting with 2,500 OFWs was the now closed Kai Tak Airport.
Entering the doorway leading to the venue, I saw hundreds more hoping to be allowed in.
Some of them recognized me and asked if I could intercede for them.
A few were in tears, saying they came from a distant district and had asked their employers to allow them to take the day off so they could see Digong.
Members of the presidential entourage—protocol officers and members of the Presidential Security Group—at the entrance said the Hong Kong police were running the show and they could not intervene.
Those who were allowed inside had their names on the registry; those who did not register earlier were barred.
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As Digong entered the hall of the venue, the OFWs chanted: “Digong, Digong!”
The applause was pleasantly deafening.
As the President was delivering his speech, many were seen crying, apparently homesick.
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During his speech, the President officially apologized in behalf of the government for the Rizal hostage crisis in August 2010 where eight Hong Kong tourists were killed.
Little known is the fact that a mainland tycoon, Xu Mingliang, was able to assuage the anger of the Hongkongites toward the Filipinos by compensating the victims’ families.
Xu, whose English name is Jose Kho, is founder of Friends of the Philippines Foundation.
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During the 70th birthday celebration for his ex-wife, Elizabeth Zimmerman, President Digong waxed romantic.
“Given another chance, another life, I would still marry Elizabeth. Because that is love,” the certified, self-confessed womanizer said in tribute to the former Philippine Airlines flight attendant.
Now, that to me is a real ladies’ man: a “bolero (sweet talker).”
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