‘No to impositions on MCC grant’
FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay on Friday slammed Washington for allegedly placing “impositions” on the grants and assistance to countries like the Philippines.
He made the statement after the Millennium Challenge Corporation deferred its selection for a second grant to the country worth over $400 million following concerns “about the rule of law and civil liberties” in the Philippines.
“[It is] very clear to us [that] this imposition is simply being made so that… we first have to bow down to the impositions of conditions that they are making,” Yasay told reporters in Singapore.
“They cannot just simply come up with decisions in the grant or non-grant of this assistance on the basis of these unverified reports.”
Yasay made his statement even as the Finance Department reiterated that the Duterte administration was committed to the rule of law in curbing poverty and promoting a law-abiding society, following MCC’s decision.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the Philippines had passed 13 out of the 20 country indicators in the latest MCC scorecard report published just last month, including control of corruption, rule of law and civil liberties.
Yasay said the United States, as a “friend” and the country’s traditional ally in the East, should help the Philippines “without conditions.”
On Thursday, the Washington-based MCC removed the Philippines from the group of countries eligible for a second funding grant that it calls “compacts,”
“The Board also deferred a vote on the re-selection of the Philippines for compact development subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties,” the company said.
Although MCC’s statement did not specify what the concerns were, Washington has been highly critical of the rising number of the summary executions in Duterte’s bloody war on drugs.
Yasay said the US only started raising the possibility of withholding aid when Duterte took office in June as a result of his bloody war on drugs.
Yasay urged MCC to “reconsider” its decision.
“We would hope that America would try to reconsider this. This has always been our appeal to America. Treat us with mutual respect and treat us as a sovereign equal,” he said.
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