MANILA - The Philippines’ rejection of foreign aid from countries supportive of Iceland’s call for a comprehensive report on its war on drugs should be seen as a message that other nations cannot interfere with Manila’s internal affairs, Malacañang said Tuesday.
President Rodrigo Duterte made a “political statement” when he ordered government agencies to reject loans and grants from 18 governments that supported Iceland’s resolution, his spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
“It is a political statement. You don’t mess with this country with that kind of resolution,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
Duterte earlier issued a memorandum suspending loans and negotiations involving 18 member-countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council which in July approved Iceland's resolution to compile a report on Manila's 3-year narcotics crackdown over human rights concerns.
Opposition lawmakers have warned the Duterte administration against rejecting aid from the 18 countries as this might isolate the Philippines from the international community.
Panelo, however, said none of the 18 countries have reacted to the President’s order since it was issued, and stressed that Manila’s ties with other nations are not confined to agreements on loans and grants.
“Wala naman reaksyon mula sa kanila. Kung walang reaksyon mula sa kanila, then ang tingin ko doon they're not offended by the move of the President,” Panelo said.
(There’s no reaction on their part. If there’s no reaction, then I think they’re not offended by the move of the President.)
Panelo earlier assured critics of the President’s decision that it would not have any negative impact on the country’s economy and that the Philippines could always turn to other countries for help.
“There are other bilateral partners and institutions, and other countries outside of the 18 offering the same and no better rates than these countries. Madaling sabi, walang epekto sa atin (The point is, it will have no effect on us)," he said on Monday.
The following countries favored the Iceland resolution:
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom including Northern Ireland