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‘Go ahead:’ Palace dares EU to revoke PH’s tariff perks over human-rights violations

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 02:55 PM September 18, 2020
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque (File photo by JOAN BONDOC / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque. INQUIRER file photo / JOAN BONDOC

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Friday dared European Union lawmakers to “go ahead” with their push to revoke the Philippines’ tariff perks for Filipino products.

Due to “seriousness of the human-rights violations” in the Philippines, European lawmakers sought for the revocation of Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) which gives the country the privilege of exporting zero-duty merchandise to the member states of the EU.

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The GSP+ scheme covers over 6,200 products from the Philippines.

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“Kung gusto nilang dagdagan ang pahirap ng sambayanang Pilipino sa panahon ng pandemya, so be it. We will accept that as history repeating itself,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

(If they want to put extra burden to Filipinos during a time of a pandemic, so be it. We will accept that as history repeating itself.)

“Tama na ‘yang mga diskusyon na ‘yan. Gawin nila ang gusto nilang gawin. Sa mga panahon na ito if they want to implement it, go ahead! They will be the biggest contributor to the violation of the right to life in the Philippines.”

(Let’s stop this discussion. They should do whatever they want. In times like this, if they want to implement it, go ahead! They will be the biggest contributor to the violation of the right to life in the Philippines.)

In a resolution, European Union lawmakers called on “the European Commission, in the absence of any substantial improvement and willingness to cooperate on the part of the Philippine authorities, to immediately initiate the procedure which could lead to the temporary withdrawal of GSP+ preferences.”

Roque then sought for Philippine ambassadors’ help in Europe to tell the “truth” about the country’s human-rights situation.

“Nananawagan po ako sa lahat ng ambahador, double effort po kayo para naman maikalat kung ano ang katotohanan diyan sa Europa,” Roque said.

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(I am calling on all ambassadors, please exert double effort to spread the truth there in Europe.)

“Ang karapatang pantao ay pinangangalagaan po, lahat ng biktima ng ‘di umano’y karahasan at karapatang pantao ay merong remedyo sang-ayon po sa lokal na batas at Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas,” he added.

(Human rights are being taken care of, all victims of alleged human-rights violations are being addressed according to Philippine laws.)

JPV
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TAGS: european lawmakers, European Union, Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus, GSP+, Malacañang, Palace, tariff
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