US grant suspension will not have ‘great impact’: Philippines

Manila, Dec 16 (IANS) The Philippine does not see any “great impact” on its economy if the United States continues to defer its grant due to concerns over rule of law and civil liberties, a senior government official said on Friday.

The US State Department has said that the second compact from the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will involve a bigger amount, Xinhua news agency reported.

“But then again, this is what our economic experts say, we’re not really bothered by it, we will not be sleepless over this decision,” Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay said in Singapore, where he is on a visit with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Yasay said if MCC’s deferment of the second grant was merely a ploy for the Philippines to bow down to the US demands, “we will not do so.”

“If they don’t want to help us, then we’ll accept that. But we feel very strongly that as friends, this is not the tack that should be adopted,” he stressed.

Yasay said if the US would want to help the Philippines, it would not set conditions.

The MCC has said that its board deferred a vote on the re-selection of the Philippines for compact development, “subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties”.

The US has raised concerns on the alleged killings of thousands of drug suspects in the war on drugs that Duterte has declared.

–IANS

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