Duterte unfazed by US aid cut to Philippines

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is unfazed by the decision of the United States aid agency to cut a multi-million-USD aid to the Philippines over concerns on "rule of law and civil liberties."

"We'll be glad to lose it," Duterte told reporters on Friday in Singapore before taking the flight back to the Philippines, adding that he is not bothered at all by the decision of the Millennium Challenge Corporation not to renew its grant amounting to 430 million U.S. dollars.

Duterte urged the U.S. poverty reduction aid agency to pack and leave the country.

"I also suggest that they start packing. Pact your things and leave maybe in six months or so," Duterte said. Duterte said Filipinos will not go hungry without the U.S. aid.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the aid agency said it had "deferred" a vote on the resection of the Philippines for compact development, "subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties."

Earlier, Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay slammed the U.S. for imposing conditions.

"If they would really like to help us on the basis of our need, they should give it to us without any conditions," Yasay told reporters in Singapore.

Yasay, who accompanied Duterte on a state visit to Singapore, appealed to the aid agency "to try to reconsider" its decision.

"This has always been our appeal to America. Treat us with mutual respect, and treat us as a sovereign equal," he said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia also said he "wouldn't lose sleep" over the non-renewed aid.

The MCC is an independent aid agency created by the U.S. Congress in 2004. It supports developing countries address human rights, poverty and corruption through good governance.

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