Duterte: PH willing to accept refugees until 'filled to the brim'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2016 10:27 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2016 04:06 AM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte sees no problem accepting refugees from conflict-torn parts of the world even if the Philippines gets “filled to the brim.”

Duterte made this announcement even as he slammed the West, which he said has been keen on reprimanding him over his human rights records but has not displayed enough compassion for refugees who are mostly from conflict-ridden Middle Eastern and African countries.

“They can always come here and we will welcome them until we are filled to the brim. It’s alright,” Duterte said in an interview with Al Jazeera’s 101 East.

“They (Western countries) build a wall, barbed wire, and now the hypocrisy is there, staring at us eyeball to eyeball.”

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the world hosted 15.1 million refugees by mid-2015. This is a 45 percent increase compared to three and a half years ago, largely due to continued conflict in Syria and other areas in the Middle East. 

Over 5,400 migrants worldwide are estimated to have died or gone missing in 2015, the IOM said.

The Philippines has historically been welcoming to refugees.

From 1935 to 1941, the Philippines adopted an open-door policy for Jewish people who wished to leave Europe. Around 1,300 of them found refuge in the Philippines.

Following the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s, about 400,000 Vietnamese refugees went through Philippine camps and were eventually relocated to other countries. - with AFP