Philippines wants US to provide humanitarian aid sans conditions

MANILA: The Philippines on Friday appealed to former colonial ruler the United States to reconsider a decision to withhold humanitarian aid, with Manila’s foreign minister asking for the assistance to be provided without any conditions.
President Rodrigo Duterte told US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” in October, and has alluded to severing ties, after being infuriated by US criticism of his war on drugs, which has claimed 2,000 lives since he took office on July 1.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US poverty reduction agency, said on its website its board had “deferred a vote on the re-selection of the Philippines for compact development, subject to further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties”.
“If they would really like to help us on the basis of our need, they should give it to us rather, without any conditions,” Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay told reporters in Singapore, while accompanying Duterte on a visit to the tiny city-state.
“We would hope that America would try to reconsider this. This has always been our appeal to America. Treat us with mutual respect, and treat us as a sovereign equal.”
Yasay said Duterte’s government was trying its best to tackle allegations of human rights violations, the main concern of the United States.
“But we would like to make sure that if this is merely a ploy, this is merely to bow down to their demands, we will not do so,” he said.
“If they don’t want to help us, we’ll accept that.”
If Washington finally decided to withhold the aid because of human rights concerns, Yasay said it would not have a “great impact” on Manila’s economic situation.
He blamed the United Nations special rapporteur on arbitrary killings for the Philippines’ bad image overseas, and demanded an apology from Agnes Callamard. “She must apologise for the arbitrary findings that she has made,” he said. — Reuters

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