200K Filipinos may lose jobs with EU dare to revoke PH’s tariff perks — Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — For Vice President Leni Robredo, daring the European Union (EU) to revoke the Philippines’ tariff perks for local products over alleged human rights abuses can end up with some 200,000 Filipino workers losing their jobs.
Robredo said the Duterte administration should instead show its commitment to uphold human rights in the country.
“Tingin ko, maling—tingin ko, Ka Ely, maling reaksyon iyon kasi ang dapat na reaksyon, sabihin mo na—ipakita mo na sinusundan natin iyong ating commitments,” Robredo said Sunday in her weekly radio program with co-host Ely Saludar.
Robredo issued the statement after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque dared EU Union lawmakers to “go ahead” with their push to revoke the Philippines’ tariff perks, saying: “Gawin nila ang gusto nilang gawin. Sa mga panahon na ito if they want to implement it, go ahead! They will be the biggest contributor to the violation of the right to life in the Philippines.”
According to Robredo, the country was given the privileges because of commitments and treaties it signed with the EU, such as the protection of human rights, freedom of the press, and the non-persecution of the government’s political opponents.
“Ang gusto kong sabihin, wala silang obligasyon na ibigay sa atin iyon pero binigyan tayo bilang privilege dahil mayroon tayong commitment na mga susundin,” Robredo said.
“Ganoon iyon, Ka Ely, eh. At iyong commitment na susundin natin, iyong pagsisiguro na iyong human rights, alam mo iyon, iyong freedom of the press, iyong hindi pag-persecute ng mga—iyong mga political opponents, kabahagi iyon noong mga pinirmahan natin,” she added.
Due to “seriousness of the human-rights violations” in the Philippines, European lawmakers sought the revocation of the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) which gives the country the privilege of exporting zero-duty merchandise to the member states of the EU.
The Vice President said the Philippines’ exports to the EU worth P108.9 billion will be affected when its GSP+ trading privilege is canceled.
“Kapag tinanggal ito, ibig sabihin 200,000 jobs ang mawawala sa atin. Kapag tinanggal ito, about 108.9 billion [pesos in] exports iyong mawawala sa atin. Kasi sisingilin na sila ng tax, na dati naman hindi naman sila sinisingil,” she said.
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