Robredo says declined loans, grants would have augmented PH’s pro-poor programs

Published September 24, 2019, 7:49 AM

by Patrick Garcia

By Raymund Antonio

The financial aid from the countries that supported the resolution calling on the United Nations to probe the administration’s drug war would have augmented the government’s budget for pro-poor programs, Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Vice President Leni Robredo (OVP / MANILA BULLETIN)
Vice President Leni Robredo

Robredo made the statement after the government suspended negotiations or signing of loans and grants with the 18 countries that voted in favor of the UN Human Rights Council resolution.

“Nakakalungkot dahil pandagdag na sana ito sa programa para sa mga mahihirap,” Robredo, who is the leader of the opposition, said on her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”

(It is sad because these could be used as additional budget for programs for the poor.)

The Vice President likened President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to its withdrawal of grants from the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation, which resulted to some unfunded projects in the Philippines.

“Okay lang sana kung mayroon tayong perang pangpalit, pero kung walang perang pangpalit. pareho din, na iyong magsasakripisyo, iyong dapat sana beneficiaries nitong mga programang ito,” she said.

(It is okay if we have money to replace it, but if there is no any, the results would be the same, that the ones who would sacrifice are the beneficiaries of these programs.)

A “confidential” memorandum dated August 27, which was signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, suspended negotiations on loans and grants from countries that supported the resolution initiated by Iceland.

The 47-member UNHRC voted on the resolution in July, with 18 countries voting in the affirmative, 14 negative, and 15 abstentions.

Among the countries that voted in favor of the resolution were as follow: United Kingdom, Argentina, Austria, Northern Ireland, Australia, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Uruguay, Italy, Peru, Mexico, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Spain.