US, UK post reminders on assistance to Philippines
Rosette Adel (philstar.com) - October 10, 2016 - 4:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — Amid President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncements that he intends to shrug off aid from the United States and the United Kingdom, the two countries' embassies sent out social media posts referring to their assistance to the Philippines.

Using hashtag #FriendsPartnersAllies, the US Embassy last October 7 posted photos of personnel from the US military and the US Agency International Development helping internally displaced persons in Zamboanga City in 2013. 

“We were here to help. We are still here to help,” the embassy said.

The US Embassy’s post came a day after Duterte dared the Washington and the European Union to pull out their aid to the Philippines, saying Filipinos are not beggars.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad also posted a list of countries which extended their hand after Supertyphoon Yolanda ravaged the Philippines in 2013. The United Kingdom was the top foreign donor, followed by the US on the third place.

"The world came to help the Philippines," he said.

Replying to a netizen, the ambassador said the information is "a window to the world." "People with issues need a mirror. UK aid was delivered directly to Filipinos in need,” he added.

According to the “Yolanda” aid fund report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), the Philippines was pledged a total of $865 million by foreign states and organizations.

The UK offered $122.7 million while the US ranked pledged P90.6 million. The United Nations and its agencies extended $81.5 million, while the EU ranked seventh with its $40.5-million assistance.

In pursuing what the government calls an "independent" foreign policy, Duterte has taken a strong stance against the US and other Western nations and blocs which criticized his war on drugs for resulting in thousands of deaths.

Duterte did not take the calls for restraint lightly, threatening to cut ties while appearing to turn to China, which pledged to support of the anti-narcotics campaign amid its incursion in Philippine maritime features in the South China Sea the past years.

The president had said the Philippines would not sacrifice its dignity as a nation for aid from other countries who do not understand the seriousness of the drug problem.

Duterte also vowed to cooperation with China and Russia, while expressing his plan to begin trade talks with countries reputed to be less friendly with the US.

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