PHL Facing Sanctions Over EJK - DILG

The Philippines is facing sanctions from the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) over the alleged human rights violations being committed by the present administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Ismael Sueno said yesterday.

In a press conference at the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) meetings at the SMX Convention Center, Sueno explained the Philippines is currently part of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) fund, which was started in 2011 by the US.

Sueno, said that because of the alleged extrajudicial killings claimed by administration critics led by Vice President Leni Robredo, “there is a chance that the country would no longer be enrolled under the MCC program.”

The MCC is an independent foreign aid agency of the US government, which aims to help lead the fight against global poverty.

The MCC has already stopped their aid packages to the country since December of last year. Aside from the MCC program, 27 trade agreements with European Union (EU) member countries could also be pulled out due to accusations of poor human rights under the Duterte administration.

Sueno claimed the EU is also threatening to impose tariffs on Philippine made products, especially those coming from the agriculture sector.

“If they impose tariffs or taxes on our products, this would make our local farmers suffer, since the tariffs will be charged to them,” Sueno pointed out.

The DILG secretary said the EU’s sanctions is aimed at pressuring Duterte to release Senator Leila De Lima from prison.

“I think the calls for Duterte’s impeachment, the EU’s demand to release De Lima, the removal of chairmanships for congressmen who have voted against death penalty and Robredo’s video message to the United Nations (UN) is all related,” Sueno said.

“Why do these issues popped up just a few days from one another?” he asked.

Sueno also clarified, he is not blaming the opposition over the lost opportunities being given by the US and EU, but he cited that this was the consequence of undermining the president.

He also downplayed the sanctions, since the president “is confident and determined in stamping out illegal drugs from the country. “

“During cabinet meetings, there is no such command from the president saying to kill alleged drug suspects,” Sueno added.*