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No new offer of monetary aid from UK, says DFA after Duterte remark

The Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday said there was no “new offer of direct monetary assistance” from the United Kingdom, contrary to President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark that he had refused $18 million to $20 million from the European country.

“At the moment, there is no new offer of direct monetary assistance to the Philippines,” the DFA said in a statement.

In a speech last Thursday, the President said that he had turned down “$18 to 20 million” from the UK government.

“And from now on, we are not… Sabi ko kay Sonny Dominguez, 'huwag mong tanggapin. Mabubuhay rin tayo,’” the President said, referring to Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III.

“Anyway, I control the foreign affairs of this government. So ‘yung mga diyan mga noisy na, ‘It will go ... the Philippine will go hungry.’ In your ignorance, you are not the one who’d formulated the foreign policy of this country. It is solely the privilege of the Executive department,” he said. 

Duterte made the remark after challenging the United Nations to delist the Philippines from its member states.

“You tell them. Come back. Start delisting the Philippines from the UN. Sige nga kung kaya nila.”

On the other hand,  the DFA statement acknowledged decades of “friendly, productive and dynamic relations” with the UK, as well as its support in Philippine development efforts, particularly in Mindanao.

“The Philippine government is committed to continued engagement with the UK in furthering our longstanding and mutually beneficial partnership.” 

The UK is a part of the European Union (EU), which Duterte had, on several occasions lambasted, the latest was on Thursday, when he told EU diplomats to leave the Philippines in 24 hours.

Later, Duterte insisted that he did nothing wrong when he issued the challenge.

The UK, though currently part of the Union, is undergoing talks with the EU to facilitate "Brexit" —its exit from the EU.  Brexit was triggered by a public referendum, held in June 23, 2016, that found 51.9 percent of more than 30 million voters favored that the UK leave, rather than remain in the EU. —LBG/BM, GMA News