“Ayaw natin tumanggap ng tulong, loans at grants sa mga bansang nais lamang tayong maging tapat sa human rights, pero tanggap tayo ng tanggap ng loans sa China na nang-aagaw ng ating mga isla at teritoryo?”
This was the statement issued today by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros after she questioned the Duterte administration’s alleged memo suspending all aid from the 18 countries that backed Iceland’s United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution to investigate the human rights situation in the country.
“Why do we reject projects and aid from countries that have been our long standing allies and are simply asking us to comply with human rights standards, but continue to accept loans from the Chinese government that constantly enters our territories without our consent and has bullied our fisherfolk in the region?” Hontiveros asked.
It was reported that a confidential Malacañang memo dated August 27 directed all departments and agencies to suspend all talks and grants with these countries “in light of the administration’s strong rejection of the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council.”
The UNHRC voted on the resolution last July 11, with 18 affirmative, 14 negative, and 15 abstentions.
Hontiveros said that at a time when funding is sorely needed for both infrastructure and social service programs, the administration’s alleged memo clearly acts against public interest and is a move designed to avoid accountability.
“This is obviously a retaliation for the criticisms that these countries aired of the human rights situation in the country, and it was made at the expense of the Filipino people,” Hontiveros said.
“The rejection of loans and projects from these countries harms the Filipino people in very real terms. How many thousands of people could benefit from these development assistance programs and other grants? How many jobs could be created by these infrastructure loans?” Hontiveros asked.