Cayetano: Shunning aid from countries backing PH killings probe is ‘sovereignty’
MANILA, Philippines—Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, Sept. 23, was all-out in his support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to shun all loans, aids and grants from 18 countries that supported a United Nations investigation of killings being linked to Duterte’s bloody war on drugs and alleged worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.
“First of all it’s nothing new,” Cayetano said in an interview.
“From the start, the President said that if you want to interfere with our local affairs and you want to dictate on us, you can’t put a price on sovereignty,” said Cayetano, a former senator and foreign affairs secretary.
“This is a question of sovereignty, that you can’t buy our sovereignty,” he said.
Cayetano said the 18 countries that voted in favor of a resolution, filed by Iceland, to have the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigate killings in the Philippines “do not understand the problems” of the Philippines.
Cayetano, who competed to be the running mate of Duterte in 2016 with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., said loans, grants or aids that come from the countries which Duterte named in his order often come with strings attached.
“We have to understand that foreign governments do not give these aids, these loans and grants without expecting any benefit to them in any way or sometimes something in exchange,” Cayetano said.
According to the confidential memorandum from the Office of the President dated Aug. 27 and reporter by Inquirer last Friday, Sept. 20, all negotiations or signing of all loan and grant agreements with the countries that voted last July 11 in favor of the UNHRC resolution to investigate Philippine killings are suspended.
The suspension, according to the memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on behalf of Duterte, would be lifted only if the President says so.
Palace spokesperson Salvador Panelo, apparently initially in the dark on the order, had denied that it existed but later confirmed this.
The order covers Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.
The inclusion of grants shocked netizens, with some commenting that Duterte was acting as if the Philippines was already as rich as Singapore. /TSB
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