Duterte acknowledged existence of memo shunning aid from countries backing Iceland resolution - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte has acknowledged the existence of a memorandum ordering the government agencies to suspend all negotiations for financial aid from 18 countries that backed an Iceland resolution calling for an investigation by the United Nations Human Rights Council against the Philippines' deadly war on drugs.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the clarification after he said last Friday Duterte told him that he did not issue such a confidential memo through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
"That is more on lapse in memory a few minutes, because when I asked him (Duterte) again, he said, 'yes I did'," Panelo said in a television interview.
"But what is important is that memo exists and it is maintained," he added.
Panelo, who is also the chief presidential legal counsel, in a press briefing, downplayed the possible effect of the suspension of talks on the financial needs of the government for its programs and projects, including infrastructure, with the other countries.
"It will not dramatically, even slightly I think impact on our economy. For one, the loans and agreements that are currently in existence are being implemented. So it will not affect," he said.
Quoting Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, he said of the 18 countries backing Iceland resolution, the Philippines has existing grants from Australia with $228.89 million; Italy, $4.71 million; and Spain, $0.57 million.
"All of these will not be affected," he said.
The total pipeline to be affected would only be Spain's $0.20 million, he said.
The 18 countries which supported the resolution against the Philippines were Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Uruguay.
Panelo said the government could source official development assistance from multilateral development financial institutions and bilateral development partners which offer better rates. Celerina Monte/DMS