SINGAPORE - President Rodrigo Duterte was unperturbed by the US-based Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) decision to forego the US$433 million second grant it was set to give the Philippines.
According to MCC, they have concerns over violations of rule of law under the current administration.
"This decision reflects the Board's significant concerns around rule of law and civil liberties in the Philippines," US embassy spokeswoman Molly Koscina said in a statement.
For the chief executive, it was good riddance.
Duterte was asked about the scuttled grant in an ambush interview in Singapore. “We’ll be glad to do so. Then I also suggest they start packing. Pack your things and leave maybe in six months or so.”
The President believes the country can always turn to new-found friends, like China and Russia.
“We will not go hungry without the American aid. We are not that desperate. We can always get it from China and Russia. We can always borrow from China and Russia.”
Duterte’s remarks came after his recent phone conversation with incoming US President Donald Trump who had expressed support for Duterte and even invited him to visit the United States.
This was in stark contrast to Duterte’s confrontational relationship with outgoing US President Barack Obama, who has been critical of alleged human rights violations of Duterte’s bloody war on illegal drugs.
Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia earlier said that the lost aid is ”not going to be anything of significance.”
“Given the amount of investments that many countries are interested in putting in, I would not lose sleep over that,” Pernia added.