In this Feb. 9, 2017 photo, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella reports that the 10.7-kilometer Laguna lake highways project is now open. On Wednesday, February 22, Abella commented that he wishes diplomats are more familiar with life outside their gated villages after British Ambassador Asif Ahmad expressed concern over drug killings and reimposition of death penalty.
King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo
Palace hits back at British envoy over EJK, death penalty concerns
Alexis Romero (philstar.com) - February 22, 2017 - 7:51pm
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang disputed Wednesday British Ambassador Asif Ahmad’s claim that change has come in the Philippines but not in a good way.
Ahmad has expressed concerns over the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the country, something that he said has raised questions among investors.
“When I first arrived here, nobody was talking about the things we’re talking about today. We talked about PPP (public private partnerships) and if it’s going to happen. We talked about charter change, and how close are we to the Bangsamoro peace process. Things were really moving forward,” he said in an interview last Monday in his Forbes Park residence.
The envoy also expressed reservations over the plan to reinstate death penalty, saying it could deal a “severe blow” to the Philippines, a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Ahmad’s statement does not reflect the sentiment of common Filipinos.
“More than 8 of 10 Filipinos trust the president and the same number is satisfied with his administration’s performance in its campaign against illegal drugs and appreciates how it handles criminality,” Abella said.
Abella said international financial institutions like the World Bank, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, and credit rater Standard & Poor’s have raised their growth projections for the Philippines this year. Manila-based lender Asian Development Bank have also expressed support for the administration’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda and is ready to fund the country’s development projects, he added.
“Confidence—both business and consumers —is high in the Duterte administration,” Abella said.
“One wishes diplomats were more familiar with life beyond the rarefied atmosphere of gated villages,” he added, apparently referring to Ahmad’s residence in Forbes Park, Makati.
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