VP: Rejected foreign aid could have boosted gov’t programs
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo was saddened by the order to suspend the financial aid from countries who supported the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for a probe into the Philippine drug war.
Robredo said on Sunday that the money that the Duterte administration refused could have been used as additional budget for some programs of the government for the poor.
“It would have been OK if we had our own money to replace it, but if we don’t have any, the beneficiaries of these programs would be the ones who would sacrifice,” Robredo, speaking in Filipino, said in her weekly radio show “BISErbisyong Leni.”
“It’s sad because this could have been additional funding for programs for the poor,” she added.
Robredo was reacting to an earlier report of The Inquirer that a confidential memorandum from the Office of the President ordered a suspension of all negotiations or signing of all loan and grant agreements with the countries that voted in favor of the UNHRC resolution.
A total of 18 countries voted in favor of the resolution — namely, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.
Signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, the memo suspended all new talks and deals for foreign loans and grants from the 18 countries.
The memo, it said, was issued “in light of the administration’s strong rejection of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council.”
However, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo denied the order suspending all financial assistance from the 18 countries.
“The President has not issued any memorandum suspending loans and negotiations involving 18 countries that voted in favor of the Iceland resolution,” Panelo said.
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