PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday stressed that the Philippines is not begging for any international aid as he asked Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo to choose between foreign aid and the protection of the next generation against the illegal drug menace.
“If you want to be like Latin American countries who are all failed states because of drugs, It’s not wrong if I go overboard shouting hell,” Duterte said at the regional police headquarters in Libertad, Butuan.
“I’ve been hurled insults from President Obama, the European Union and what’s worse is that there’s an official who threatened me, Leni [Robredo] saying that we [may] lose the international assistance,” Duterte said.
Duterte told Robredo: “You choose, the crumbs of the favor of other nations and wait for their assistance, or we make a stand that this country has to survive that this country and must see to it that the next generation is protected?”
On Wednesday, Robredo warned that the President’s attacks could strain diplomatic ties and eventually cut the flow of international aid that we are receiving from other countries.
“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,” Robredo said.
Robredo made the call a day after the President, who is still on the defensive amid international criticism of his bloody anti-drug war said that US President Barack Obama should “go to hell” and that the EU could “choose purgatory.”
It was the latest of Duterte’s series of tirades whose targets have also included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Reacting to Robredo’s statements, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President was more concerned with being treated with “dignity and respect” than keeping the flow of aid.
The President said that his international critics may withdraw foreign aid should they want to.
“I do not expect Obama. I do not expect the EU to understand me. Do not understand me. If you think it’s high time for you to withdraw assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it,” he said.
The United States earlier said that they might take back the $6.7 million in law enforcement aid pledged to the Philippines if the two countries fail to agree on how it will be used, saying that the money is not meant to finance police operations to hunt down drug criminals.
“The $6.7 million in funds can be used only after agreement between the United States and the Philippines on their specific use. If no agreement is reached, the funds may be used in a country other than the Philippines,” U.S. Embassy Press Attache and First Secretary Molly Koscina told CNN Philippines in an interview.
The United States is the country’s largest source of official development assistance (ODA), at $1.15 billion in 2014. The United Nations came in second with $608 million, followed by Australia with $587 million and the European Union with $175 million.
Other sources of development assistance that the country receives are: Japan with $167 million, Germany with $125 million, Asian Development Bank with $118 million, South Korea with $94 million and the World Bank with $84 million.