President Rodrigo Duterte would rather die of hunger than accept aid from superpowers who wish to meddle in his war against illegal drugs.
Speaking to policemen in Butuan City, Duterte dared the United States and the European Union to withdraw their assistance if they wish.
"If you think it is high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it," an unwavering Duterte said Thursday, as he emphasized how the drug menace continue to destroy the country.
Duterte said Philippines "will survive" sans aid from Philippine allies.
"We will survive. I will be the first one to go hungry and I'll be the first one to die of hunger, huwag kayong mag-alala [Don't worry]," Duterte said.
"But we will never never compromise our dignity as a Filipino," he added.
Duterte lamented the "cycle of violence for everybody" due to illegal drugs, a crisis that he said other countries wouldn't understand.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine on Saturday urged the United States and European Union (EU) to send a strong message to the Duterte administration that the Philippines "risks an immediate suspension of aid unless the abusive 'war on drugs' and its skyrocketing death toll comes to a halt."
The US and EU are among the Philippines' sources of official development assistance.
In August, the US Embassy in the Philippines already gave a subtle warning as it emphasized that the monetary assistance it provides Philippines must "promote due process and rule of law."
"We strongly urge the Philippines to ensure its law enforcement efforts are consistent with its human rights obligations," the embassy said.
Robredo issued a call to Duterte to "change for the better," fearing that Philippines will lose substantial aid.