Duterte admin banning aid to hide human rights violations

Features Philippines Oct 11, 2019 at 3:29 pm

PursuePeopleEconomicsFINALEST-e1565677984629By IBON Media

Research group IBON, a member of the multisectoral network AidWatch, said that the Duterte administration is stopping talks on new official development assistance (ODA) from 18 countries as part of its efforts to hide the worsening domestic human rights situation. This includes Spain which is supporting the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The group said that the show of standing up against foreign intervention in the country is hollow because the administration continues to receive much more ‘aid’ from China and the United States (US) despite their much larger and more damaging intervention in the Philippines.

The administration issued a memorandum on August 27, 2019 directing the suspension of all negotiations and signing of loan and grant agreements with the 18 countries of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council that recently supported a resolution to investigate human rights violations in the country. These include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Uruguay.

AidWatch, a network actively working with different government agencies and stakeholders on ODA issues, noted that as of the first quarter of 2019, the 18 countries combined account for only US$525 million or less than 3% of the Philippines’ active loans and grants. This is because only three of the 18 countries have active ODA here — Australia (US$476 million), Italy (US$41 million) and Spain (US$8.1 million). There is also just an additional US$414 million in the pipeline from Australia (US$82 million), Austria (US$177 million), and the UK (US$155 million).

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