Sueno: Philippines may lose aid, trade agreements

THE Philippines is poised to lose aid and various trade agreements with the international community amid allegations of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings and human rights violations, a Cabinet official said.

“We stand to lose many things. This is the consequence of what they are doing to the President,” said Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno at the sidelines of the 15th Meeting of the Asean Senior Officials/Ministers Responsible for Information at SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City Wednesday.

He added that “this is being propagated by many sectors in the government and recently by VP (Vice President Leni Robredo).”

Sueno said the country “stands to lose 27 trade agreements with the European Union (EU).”

He added that it is “connected with conditions” which includes upholding of human rights.

Sueno said that it would create adverse effects as the EU also threatened to suspend the country’s tariff-free products.

“It mean, they will impose taxes on our products. This will make our farmers suffer because this will be charged to them by European countries as a sanction to the Philippines. Many countries in Europe are importing products from the country," he added.

Sueno said the United States government did not continue its grant to the country due to alleged cases of human rights violations.

He said the $434 million from the Millennium Challenge Corporation Fund, a US aid package, was not renewed this year.

“Free De Lima”

Also, Sueno said they have received reports that there is a move to free Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, from detention.

“These accusations against the President surfaced to force him to free the senator from prison, according to our intel,” he said.

Sueno said the impeachment complaint against Duterte, the move to free De Lima, and the recent video by Robredo addressed to the United Nations detailing the supposed government abuses are part of the destabilization plot.

Earlier, the European Union Parliament called on the Duterte administration to free De Lima, who was jailed due to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, and to investigate the drug war, which killed thousands.

Sueno remained confident, saying the accusations are “unfounded” as there was no order from the President to kill all drug pushers, drug addicts, and drug lords.

“I saw his political will and commitment. He is committed to really stamp out the drug problem in the country. He’s not afraid of anything. His objective is to win the war on drugs,” Sueno added.
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