Brussels wants to cancel royal visit to Philippines

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte's recent remarks have prompted Brussels to reconsider its scheduled royal visit to the Philippines next year.

The president earlier compared himself to German dictator Adolf Hitler and said that he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts.

Duterte, however, has apologized for his remark after drawing flak from the Jewish community all over the world.

READ: Duterte apologizes to Jews for Hitler remark

Brussels State Secretary for External Trade Cécile Jodogne wants to cancel the trade mission led by Princess Astrid to the Philippines in May 2017, according to a report from La Libre Belgique.

Two missions are planned for next year—the Philippines in May and Ivory Coast in the second half of the year.

Jodogne had sent a letter to the Agency for Foreign Trade, which is in charge of organizing trade missions of the Belgian royalty, calling for a meeting regarding the mission to the Philippines.

"I do not say that she would never have to go to the Philippines. I think we can consider cooperation in all countries," Jodogne wrote in French.

The top Belgian diplomat said that she will call for the mission to be shifted to another country.

Jodogne stressed that there is a timing problem on the scheduled royal visit to the Philippines.

"The mission takes place in a little over six months, and at the escalation of statements of the Philippine president, now is [the time] to say if we will or not," Jodogne added.

Belgium is the seat of the European Union (EU), which has been criticizing the Philippine government's anti-narcotics campaign due to the rising number of extrajudicial and vigilante killings of drug suspects.

RELATED: Rody invites UN, EU to probe Philippine killings

Duterte challenged the EU and the United Nations to come to the Philippines for a debate on human rights and extrajudicial killings.



Editor's note: This article has been updated at 11:59 a.m. to correct language used in letter. It earlier noted that the quote by Brussels State Secretary for External Trade Cécile Jodogne was in Belgian. It was in French.

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