MANILA, Philippines – Swedish Ambassador-designate to the Philippines Harald Fries on Thursday, November 17, voiced his country’s concern over the recent spate of killings in the Philippines.
Asked about the policies of the Duterte administration, Fries told reporters on Thursday: “As far as I know, the policies are stable and the rules are stable, but of course in Sweden as in many other countries, there is some concern about the large number of killings going on in this country.”
Sought for an explanation, Fries said, “I can’t say anything more than it is a concern, and we follow it and we trust that the Philippine government is investigating these killings. And that’s what we hear that the government is doing.”
Sweden is part of the European Union, which Duterte blasted after the European Parliament criticized the recent killings in the Philippines.
Fries’ comments come as Duterte’s war on drugs has killed at least 4,882 people since July 1, a day after the President took office.
Of this number, 1,881 died in police operations while 3,001 others had been slain in extrajudicial or vigilante-style killings.
‘Fundamentals here are right’
The Swedish ambassador made these remarks on the sidelines of the Nordic Ambassadors’ Luncheon in Fairmont Makati on Thursday.
During this luncheon, Fries also praised the Philippines’ economy, saying that “the fundamentals here are right.” He hailed, as well, the country’s “young, talented, well-educated English-speaking population.”
“We have good bilateral relations between Sweden and the Philippines, and we wish this country the best of luck during Duterte’s term.”
Fries has been in the Philippines for two months, but has not presented his credentials to President Rodrigo Duterte yet.
The ambassador needs to present his credentials before he can formally begin his work in the Philippines.
Fries also served as second secretary at the Swedish embassy in Manila from 1991 to 1995, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The Swedish embassy in Manila closed in 2008 but reopened on November 8 this year. – Rappler.com