Rody: Philippines will survive without foreign aid

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Go ahead, pull out your aid.

Saying Filipinos are not “mendicants,” President Duterte dared yesterday the United States, the European Union and human rights advocates to pull out their assistance to the Philippines if they continue to criticize his war against illegal drugs without understanding the seriousness of the problem.

He said the country could survive without their help.

“I do not expect the human rights (advocates), I do not expect (US President Barack) Obama, I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me and if you think it’s high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it,” the President said in a speech delivered at Camp Rafael Rodriguez in Butuan City.

Duterte said the Philippines would not sacrifice its dignity as a nation for “crumbs” from other countries who would not even ask about the local situation.

“We have a problem here trying to preserve our society and you mess it up by (raising) human rights (issues),” the President said, complaining that even local officials like Vice President Leni Robredo talked about the possibility of the Philippines losing assistance from foreign countries because of his foul language.

“You threaten us using your assistance. How do you look at us? Mendicants?” Duterte asked.

Duterte said he was ready to uphold the integrity of the Philippines and that “we will survive.”

“Even if it’s difficult, we will survive. I’ll be the first one to go hungry. I’ll be the first one to die of hunger. Do not worry. But we will never compromise our dignity as Filipino,” the President said.

The US, EU, the United Nations and human rights groups have criticized Duterte for the alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects and have asked the President to uphold the rule of law at all times.

Duterte, however, viewed their statements as interference with the Philippines’ affairs and assailed them for their supposed hypocrisy and failure to end atrocities in other parts of the world.

On Wednesday, Robredo reminded Duterte not to hurl expletives at foreign leaders as it could affect diplomatic ties and cut the flow of assistance.

“I wish that he does not speak that way. It is a reminder not only to him but also to all public officials,” Robredo said in a press conference.

“Foreign aid is a big help for us, and those are given to us because of the level of their trust and confidence in us. It is not something that we can do away with just like that because we worked hard to reach that certain level of comfort and trust,” the Vice President added.

Duterte, however, believes that the Philippines’ survival is more important. “You choose: the crumbs of favor from other nations? Will we just rely on their assistance or we make a stand that this country has to survive, that this country must see to it that the next generation is protected?” the President said.

“Because if we don’t interdict this evil of drugs, our children and our grandchildren… will be unfortunate,” he added.

In the same event, Duterte assured policemen that they would not be jailed for doing their duty in his campaign against drugs.

“We have a problem and we want to end it during my time because somebody is here to protect you,” Duterte said.

“Just do your job. Don’t be afraid. Now is the time to kill a criminal correctly,” he said. – Edith Regalado

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