Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is unfazed by the decision of the United States aid agency to cut a multimillion aid to the Philippines over concerns on “rule of law and civil liberties”.
“We’ll be glad to lose it,” Xinhua news agency quoted Duterte as saying on Friday in Singapore before taking the flight back to the Philippines, adding that he is not bothered at all by the decision of the Millennium Challenge Corporation not to renew its grant amounting to $430 million.
Duterte urged the US poverty reduction aid agency to pack and leave the country.
“I also suggest that they start packing. Pack your things and leave maybe in six months or so,” Duterte said. Duterte said Filipinos will not go hungry without the US aid.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the aid agency said it had “deferred” a vote on the resection of the Philippines for compact development, “subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties”.
Earlier, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay slammed the US for imposing conditions.
“If they would really like to help us on the basis of our need, they should give it to us without any conditions,” Yasay told reporters in Singapore.
Yasay, who accompanied Duterte on a state visit to Singapore, appealed to the aid agency “to try to reconsider” its decision.
“This has always been our appeal to America. Treat us with mutual respect, and treat us as a sovereign equal,” he said.
The MCC is an independent aid agency created by the US Congress in 2004. It supports developing countries address human rights, poverty and corruption through good governance.