After President Rodrigo Duterte cursed the United States, European Union and the United Nations and boldly declared that the Philippines does not need foreign aid at all, Palace Communications Chief Martin Andanar tried to soften the blow Sunday by hailing the country’s partnership with the country’s top donors.
“We welcome the steadfast commitment of EU and UN to the Philippines. Our partnership go beyond differences in policies,” Andanar said in a statement.
The Palace official issued the brief statement after the President claimed that the Philippines got “crumbs” in foreign aid.
Based on the 2014 records of the National Economic Development Authority, the US contributed the highest amount of Official Development Assistance (ODA) with $1.15 billion. The United Nations came second with $608 million, followed by Australia with $587 million. The European Union—composed of 27 states—was fourth with $175 million.
Rounding up the top 10 ODA grant donors were Japan with $167 million, Germany, $125 million, Asian Development Bank, $118 million, South Korea, $94 million and World Bank, $84 million.
On Sunday, Senator Richard Gordon advised Duterte to insulate himself from “intrigue peddlers” who tend to compromise the country’s foreign relations by provoking incendiary reactions from him.
The senator opined that the President will be better off if he leaves foreign policy matters with Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay.
While Duterte can freely articulate his intentions to pursue stronger diplomatic ties with Russia and China, he should not do so by castigating the US and other countries as well as international organizations, Gordon said.
“If you are an investor from America, will you be willing to invest in the Philippines knowing that your country does not have good relations anymore?” Gordon asked in a radio interview.
The senator cited the example of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd who left foreign policy matters to former Foreign Albert Del Rosario.
He added that Duterte’s tirades against US President Barack Obama has projected the President as undiplomatic and crass, reason why others allegedly look down on him.
“Sorry Mr. President mahal ko kayo, mahal ko ang bayan natin, ika nga dapat ‘yan ang tinitignan natin na tayo ang symbol ng Pilipino (Sorry Mr. President, I love you, I love our nation, but we should also remember that we are the symbol of the Filipino,” Gordon said.
The senator likewise pleaded to media to highlight the “good intentions” of the President instead of printing misunderstood soundbites.
He added that it would be best for the media to refrain from asking questions that they know will annoy the President or provoke an incendiary reaction from him.
“I think the media has as much responsibility, we know the President,” Gordon said.
The Palace also responded to the scathing words of actress Agot Isidro who called Duterte “psychopath” for threatening to junk foreign aid and claiming that nobody will get hungry even if countries ann groups will stop pouring aid to the Philippines.
“While she is entitled to her own opinion, it also reveals the kind of attitude that the President is addressing—dependency on foreign aid. He wants the Filipino people to gain true independence, economically, mentally and socially,” Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.
Isidro’s Facebook post ran thus: Firstly, nobody is picking a fight with you (Duterte). You were the one picking fights. Secondly, you are elected President of 16 million out of the 100 million of a Third World country. You talk as if we are a superpower. Excuse me. We don’t want to go starving. You can starve by yourself. Don’t include us in this. Many people cannot even fend for themselves for food, and you want them to starve even more. Lastly, I know a psychiatrist. You are not a bipolar. You are a psychopath.”