Thousands of Filipinos gathered in Singapore last December 16, to show their support to President Rodrigo Duterte.
This was also to catch a glimpse of their leader, whose bloody war on drugs has horrified global rights groups here and abroad.
There were around 135,000 people from the Philippines who live in Singapore.
Rights groups estimate about 70,000 of them are women working as domestic helpers and many of them turned up on Friday, to cheer their president.
Some of them even went there without the permission of their bosses or employers.
‘Most people love Duterte,’ according to a 43-year-old maid Arnelya, who declined to give her full name because her employers did not know she went out.
The woman is supporting her four children back home in Mindanao, Duterte’s home place.
Organizers issued 6,000 tickets for the event but expected a much larger turnout, as supporters went there, hours early.
Duterte’s war on drugs, the key plank of his campaign for a May election, has claimed about 5,000 lives since July 1.
While international rights groups, organizations including the Untied Nations and leaders such as US President Barack Obama have raised concern about the extra-judicial killings, at home, the bloody toll has bolstered Duterte’s standing.
A 31-year-old architect, Rene Tahun said that he admires Duterte’s war on drugs.
The president is fighting for the filipinos, for peace, order and safety. Duterte is tough, if not crime will still go on.
Duterte has promised the country’s millions of overseas workers to boost the economy and fight drugs and corruption, so they can come home to a better life.
Across town, in central Singapore, Lilian Taguinod, 34, was disappointed she could not go to see her president.
She loves Duterte, said Taguinod, holding her employer’s nine-month-old daughter.
Duterte also delivered a speech at the start of a state dinner hosted by Singapore’s President Tony Tan at the Istana in Singapore, December 15, 2016. Wallace Woon,