MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday launched another profanity-laced attack against the European Union for supposedly lobbying for the Philippines’ removal from the United Nations, this time, by asking the bloc’s ambassadors here to leave the country in 24 hours.
“Now the ambassadors of those countries listening now: tell me because we can have the diplomatic channel cut tomorrow. You leave my country in 24 hours. All of you. You must have taken the Filipino for granted,” an angry Duterte said in his speech in Malacañan.
“Do not come to this country again, we do not need you. You want to expel us? You try,” he added.
EU officials in the Philippines are yet to reply to Philstar.com‘s request for a comment on the president’s remarks as of this reporting.
Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm for activating his deadly anti-drug campaign.
Human Rights Watch Geneva Advocacy Director John Fisher warned over the weekend that the Philippines might be removed from the UN Human Rights Council because Manila is “seeking to evade its international responsibilities” by rejecting recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, European parliamentarians early this week visited the country and cautioned that the Philippines risks losing the General System of Preference (GSP+)—a preferential trade deal that allows 6,200 of its products to enter the EU duty free—if it fails to immediately stop the killings and supposed political persecution of critics.
But Duterte was unfazed by the EU parliamentarians’ warning as he slammed Europe anew for supposedly interfering in Manila’s domestic affairs.
He also said the Philippines could let go any trade perks that EU has granted, adding that Southeast Asian countries and China could forge a free-trade agreement.
“You are interfering in our affairs kasi mahirap lang kami. Magbigay kayo ng pera then you start to orchestrate what things should be done and which should not happen in my country,” Duterte said.
“You bullshit. We are past the colonization stage. Don’t fuck with us. We ASEAN members can export to each other. We could also have tariff-free [trade],” he added.
EU overtook the United States and Japan as being the largest destination of exports from the Philippines in March, according to the Philippines Statistics Authority.
With $901 million of total exports, this makes the EU the biggest and fastest growing export market for Philippine goods.
The Philippines was granted beneficiary country status under the EU-GSP+ in December 2014, allowing it to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free to the EU market.
The alleged cases of extrajudicial killings in the country as part of Duterte’s drug war, however, has put at risk the country’s GSP+ privileges.
The country’s beneficiary status under the GSP+ necessitates the implementation of the 27 international treaties and conventions on human rights, labor rights, environment and governance.
Results of the latest GSP+ review is expected to come out in January next year.
Early this year, the Philippine government announced that it would no longer accept grants from EU particularly those that would allow the bloc to interfere in Manila’s autonomy.
But Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia later said the decision to reject EU grants was “not a policy,” adding that Duterte, who is known to flip-flop on his statements, might “take back” his statement soon as this could only be driven by “reaction.”