Foreign aid should not be used as leverage – Palace

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Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella (file photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Foreign countries should not use donations or aid to the Philippines in protest over the country's policies, a spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.

"Aid should be aid and should not be used as a tool," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said at a press conference.

He made the statement when asked by reporters about a tweet by the British Ambassador  to the Philippines on foreign assistance to the Philippines in the devastating aftermath of typhoon Haiyan (typhoon Yolanda) in November 2013.

Abella said  the country appreciated the help.

But he added that Duterte will not budge on policies or government campaigns just because of the possibility of losing foreign aid.

"Yes we accept aid and we are very grateful for these things. But these are things that we don't depend on. These are not things that we seek out," said Abella.

In the tweet posted by British Ambassador Asif Ahmad on October 9, Ahmad attached a graphic that listed countries' donations for Haiyan victims with the caption: "The world came to help the Philippines."

In the graphic, the United Kingdom topped the list with USD 122 million donated to help the Philippines recover from Haiyan.

 

The tweet came days after the President dared the United States and the European Union to pull out their assistance to the Philippines if they continued to criticize his war on drugs.

A week ago, Vice President Leni Robredo urged Duterte to curb his tirades against foreign countries, since these could be placing our sources of foreign aid at risk.

Abella reiterated that  Duterte was just reminding Filipino to regain some self-respect and pride. "The Filipino should begin building upon his character and regain a sense of identity," he said.