MANILA, Philippines – "If you think it's high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead. We will not beg for it."
"How do you look at us? Mendicants?" asked an indignant Duterte during his speech on Thursday, October 6, at a police camp in Butuan City.
The President asserted that the Philippines, a 3rd world country, can "survive" even without foreign assistance. The worst-case scenario, he said, is he would be the first to suffer from the loss of aid.
"Maski magkahirap dito (Even if we face hardships), we will survive. I'll be the first one to go hungry, I'll be the first one to die of hunger, huwag kayo mag-alala (don't worry). But we will never, never compromise our dignity as Filipinos," he said.
Duterte then said the EU and US will "never understand the pain that we're suffering."
He told them: "Go away. Bring your money to somewhere else." (READ: Duterte to EU: It's true, I'm no statesman)
Threats of aid withdrawal?
The President had apparently heard of the possible withdrawal of assistance from statements made by Vice President Leni Robredo.
"I've been hurled insults – the President, EU and all. Ang masama pa, i-threaten 'nyo, meron tayong official, si Leni, na we lose the international assistance," he said.
(I've been hurled insults – the President, EU and all. What's worse is, you threaten, we have an official, Leni, that we lose the international assistance.)
Duterte then asked Filipinos to make a choice.
"Mamili kayo, the crumbs of the favor ng ibang nasyon, aasa tayo sa assistance nila or we make a stand that this country has to survive, that this country must see to it that the next generation is protected?" he said.
(Choose, the crumbs of the favors of other nations, we will depend on their assistance or we make a stand that this country has to survive, that this country must see to it that the next generation is protected?)
"If we don't interdict this evil of drugs, ang mga anak natin, ang mga apo natin, reckon from where I stand now, kawawa sila (our children, our grandchildren, from where I stand now, they will be pitiful)," said Duterte.
The President's dismissal of international aid comes a day after Vice President Robredo said in a press conference that Duterte should be more careful in making public statements.
While Robredo emphasized how the government should nurture the trust of the international community, she also said there has been no threats of aid withdrawal from other countries.
"Kahit maraming nangyayari, 'di pa rin naman kami nakakaramdam ng pag-withhold ng support," Robredo had said.
(Even though there are a lot of things happening, we still don't feel any withholding of support.)
Last Monday, the US State Department cited the rapid deployment of US troops in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.
In recent weeks, Duterte has unleashed invectives against the US, EU, and United Nations for criticizing his controversial drug war supposedly without basis. (READ: What did the UN do for PH? Disaster response, health programs, and more) – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.