The decision, contained in a Feb. 27 memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, eases the government’s hardline stance against 18 countries that supported the resolution, a move that officials previously described as interference with Philippine domestic policies. ?
STAR/ File
Government resumes loans, grants from countries backing UN probe
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has lifted the suspension of talks and signing of grant and loan deals with countries that backed the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution calling for a comprehensive report on President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs. ?

The decision, contained in a Feb. 27 memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, eases the government’s hardline stance against 18 countries that supported the resolution, a move that officials previously described as interference with Philippine domestic policies. ?

The memorandum also reversed a memorandum issued on Aug. 27 which directed all department secretaries, heads of agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations and state-run financial institutions to suspend negotiations and signing of all loan and grant agreements with the 18 countries. ?

“Please be informed that such directive is hereby lifted effective immediately,” Medialdea said in the Feb. 27 memorandum. ?

“It is understood, however, that all necessary approvals, authorities and clearances, as required by relevant laws, rules and regulations should first be obtained prior to actual negotiations and conclusion of any agreement with the covered foreign governments, their agencies and instrumentalities or multilateral institutions or organizations,” he added. ?

The memorandum did not say what prompted Malacañang to lift the suspension. ?

Last year, Iceland initiated a UNHRC resolution seeking a comprehensive report on the Philippines’ crackdown on narcotics, which has so far left more than 5,000 people dead. ?

Eighteen countries, some of them hosts to large populations of Filipino workers, voted in favor of the resolution, 14 others rejected it and 15 countries abstained from the voting. ?

The 18 countries who supported the resolution were Argentina, Australia, Austria Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

The countries that voted against it were the Philippines, Angola, Bahrain, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Hungary, India, Iraq, Qatar, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, while those who abstained were Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Chile, Democratic Republic of Congo, Japan, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Tunisia.?Panelo had described the Iceland-led resolution as “offensive.” ?

“That Iceland resolution presupposes that we’re not doing anything about the complaints, about abuses, which is not true. We’ve been prosecuting, in fact, every death arising from police operation on drugs is automatically subject to administrative and criminal prosecution,” he said.?

“But the problem is some are complaining about police abuse but do not file (complaints) formally. If they file, there is no evidence,” he said. 

SALVADOR MEDIALDEA
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