Updated 09:40 AM PHT Sat, October 8, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte gives U.S. President Obama a piece of advice on Friday — as the former mayor marks his 100 days in Malacañang.
Speaking at the National Banana Congress in Lanang, Davao City, Duterte said Obama should go through diplomatic channels when complaining about the Philippine government’s war against illegal drugs.
“So, if you want Mister Obama, you can ask your representative to the U.N. to make a complaint,” he said. “I am not your servant. Do not do it to me. I am the President of the Republic of the Philippines.”
As for the European Union, Duterte said it was “too far away” and repeated what he said yesterday about not being afraid if the U.S. or EU would decide to pull out aid to the Philippines.
“Who do you think you are? Without your aid, fine. We will survive.”
In contrast, the firebrand president had only good words for China, saying he was positive about his forthcoming visit to the Asian superpower.
“It is only China who has helped us. I requested the military to open their camps to allow people who would want to donate rehab houses. China is about to complete Sobrosa… It would house 1,400 drug addicts.”
Rating his own performance
After surveys showing high ratings for his first hundred days in office and war against drugs, Duterte gave himself a mere passing mark.
“Dyan lang ako naglalaro eh. Ever since kindergarten, 75-76. Hwag lang bumagsak.”
[Translation: My grade had always been around the vicinity of 75-76. Just so as not to flunk.]
Or in a scale of 1 to 10 — with 10 being the highest — the President said he was giving himself a six.
CNN Philippines’ Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.
EU, UN won’t stop Philippines aid
MANILA, Philippines – Despite being told by President Duterte to “go to purgatory” because hell is already full, the European Union (EU) is extending P9 billion in assistance to the Philippines for energy-related measures, especially for renewable energy development and energy efficiency promotion.
The United Nations, for its part, said it has no plans to stop its assistance to the Philippines despite constant drubbing from President Duterte, who said the other day that the country would survive without foreign aid.
The EU and the Department of Energy (DOE) yesterday launched the Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP), aimed at providing electricity to 90 percent of Philippine households through maximized use of renewable energy.
“We see that the Philippines and the EU are sharing many objectives looking forward on issues such as climate change, sustainable energy, pro-poor agenda, trying to lift people out of poverty,” EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said in a briefing.
The P9-billion financing agreement will run for three to four years, Jessen said, depending on “how fast the money is being spent and being used by the communities.”
ASEP seeks to provide clean energy solutions to 100,000 households or roughly 500,000 people, add 20 megawatts in additional renewable energy projects and improve energy efficiency and generate savings equivalent to a 50-megawatt power plant.
With the challenge of ever-changing technologies, the EU is working closely with the DOE in identifying projects that would be covered by the grant, such as clean energy and other low carbon development, ASEP consultant Christoph Menke said in the same briefing.
“More than technology, we need business models and the right policies administration. This is exactly where the project can work with the government and a lot of people committed in different agencies to work on,” he said.
The DOE, for its part, is pitching for greater use of information technology in the wires-related business of the energy sector, DOE undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella said.
“What the Department of Energy is looking at in the future is how to be more flexible and how to gather more information at the right time. We are all looking at the smart grid technology and, as I have emphasized, we are looking at how to further develop wires and have convergence on ICT,” he said.
The DOE is also looking at using the grant for paying Feed-in Tariff (FIT) – a set of incentives given to power developers for investing in the more expensive renewables sector – instead of passing the burden to consumers.
“So we brought up FIT, how we can remove the pass-on charge to consumers,” Fuentebella said.
UN commitment stays
Meanwhile, UN resident coordinator and UN Development Program resident representative in the Philippines Ola Almgren said relations between the world body and Manila remain undamaged.
“We need to look at the broader aspect of the Philippines’ role in the UN and the work that we do here to judge that. I remain firm in my belief that that relationship will continue in as good a level as it has been in the past,” Almgren told The STAR.
He stressed there is no way the UN would stop giving aid to the Philippines.
As this developed, Duterte asked US President Barack Obama to let the US ambassador to the UN file a complaint against him for human rights violations.
“When the European Union and the US reprimand it was as if I was their (house) boy. I am not your servant,” Duterte said yesterday in his speech at the National Banana Congress in Lanang, Davao City.
Almgren expressed confidence “the partnership between the UN and the Philippines will remain strong as it has been as we go forward.”
He cited a memorandum of understanding signed by the UNDP, the Board of Investments and local business groups for the conduct of a nationwide baseline survey on inclusive business among Philippine firms.
“The Philippines is a member-state of the UN since the very beginning. It’s a question of what has been the contribution of the Philippines to the UN and that contribution has been fantastic ever since the beginning of the UN and even in recent years,” Almgren pointed out.
Duterte has been unleashing harsh remarks against the UN, the EU and the US for their calling his attention to the rising death toll and human rights abuses in the conduct of his intensified campaign against illegal drugs and criminality.
The President in August threatened to withdraw the Philippines from the UN – a statement he later clarified was only a joke.
On Duterte’s latest tirade against the US and the EU, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the President is merely saying “we have a reform policy, we have our own problems, internal problems in the country, so instead of criticizing us, help us. If you are really our friend, help us.”
He stressed the President “knows what he is saying and the President is standing for the right of every Filipino, independent foreign policy and about opening our doors to other countries also if they want to – who may want to work with the Philippines in mutually beneficial ways.” – Christina Mendez, Giovanni Nilles
Here’s how the U.S. is dealing with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte’s blitz of rants, insults and ultimatums
By Tracy Wilkinson and W.J. Hennigan
Like those from a battering ram, the hits just keep coming from the recently elected president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte.
Saying this week that President Obama could “go to hell,” Duterte has threatened to jettison decades of close security cooperation with the United States, suggesting Manila would turn to China or Russia for support.
The latest anti-U.S. vitriol came as U.S. Marines and sailors practiced amphibious landings and other exercises with Philippine troops at coastal sites close to the strategic shipping lanes and disputed islands in the South China Sea, a regional hot spot.
The joint exercises began Tuesday and are scheduled to run until Oct. 12. Last week, Duterte said this would be the final round of joint exercises with the U.S. military.
Obama administration officials have chosen to largely ignore Duterte’s insults and ultimatums, and say they have not scaled back any military or aid programs in the Philippines.
“The administration is playing this as well as one can,” said Amy Searight, director of the Southeast Asia Program for the nonpartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “The best option for the U.S. is to stay calm and let it play out. We don’t know yet where Duterte plans to go with this.”
Washington and Manila have had a mutual defense treaty since 1951 and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that military partnership remains “ironclad.”
He spoke in Honolulu after meeting with his Philippine counterpart, Delfin Lorenzana, at a weekend gathering of defense ministers from the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional grouping that promotes economic, political and security cooperation.
Lorenzana said Wednesday that Duterte might be “misinformed” about the value of the Philippines’ military cooperation with the United States
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Tuesday that Duterte’s harsh comments are “at odds with the warm relationship that exists between the Filipino and American people.”
Last month, Duterte used a common slur in Tagalog that roughly translates as “son of a bitch” to refer to Obama. The White House responded by canceling a planned bilateral meeting on the sidelines of a regional summit in Laos.
Duterte later said in a statement through his spokesman that he regretted that his language “came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president.”
White House officials had said Obama was concerned about widespread extrajudicial killings since Duterte was elected on a vow to declare war on illegal drugs. Police and vigilantes have killed more than 3,500 people since Duterte took office June 30.
“Words do matter,” a senior State Department official said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly. But, the official added, “we are not going to respond to every little thing said in Tagalog somewhere in the Philippines.”
The Philippines spent five decades as an American colony until it won independence after World War II, and relations have been stormy numerous times in the past. In 1991, the U.S. was forced to give up major air and naval bases in the country.
Obama has visited the Philippines twice in the last four years in an effort to broaden ties. It paid off with wider U.S. military access to Philippine bases and ports, and greater cooperation on counter-terrorism programs.
In 2014, Washington and Manila signed an enhanced defense cooperation agreement partly in an effort to provide a stronger counterbalance to China’s expansion in the resource-rich South China Sea, where it is building artificial islands.
The agreement, now criticized by Duterte, was upheld as constitutional by the Philippine Supreme Court on Jan. 12.
The Pentagon keeps 300 to 500 troops in the Philippines to support training, joint exercises and other activities. About 50 to 100 members of the U.S. special forces also work with Philippine security forces, especially in the restive southern islands.
Cmdr. Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman, said the U.S. military has been consulting with Manila over the last two months “on ways we can support the new administration’s counter-terrorism efforts.”
Ten weeks ago, the Philippines won an important legal victory when an international tribunal, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, ruled that China’s “historic” claims to islands and reefs in the South China Sea were invalid.
Duterte, however, has sought to move closer to Beijing, which is a major trading partner for Manila.
“There is a history of anti-American sentiment that gathers around sovereignty issues [in the Philippines] and Duterte can tap into that,” said Sheila Smith, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “But he is playing rather dangerously, thinking ‘we can cozy up to China’ … as a hedge.”
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