Priest contradicts Duterte on UN aid

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MANILA, Aug. 24, 2016— “He is not well informed.”

This was how a Catholic priest reacted to President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the United Nations has “done nothing” for the Philippines.

Fr. Edwin Gariguez, Caritas Philippines executive secretary, said from 2013 to present alone, the UN contributed a lot in providing emergency and rehabilitation assistance to victims of super typhoon Yolanda.

“Maybe there’s a need to inform him about all these,” he added.

He said at the time, the typhoon had “paralyzed” the operations of most of the affected local government units and the international community responded with generous assistance.

“We should take this as a great debt of gratitude because we in the humanitarian work witnessed that,” he said.

“Because of the magnitude of the damage, I don’t know how the country will respond in terms of giving relief aid without them,” said Gariguez.

Duterte earlier threatened to withdraw the country’s membership in the UN after it called for an end to the spate of drug-related killings in the country.

The tough-talking President also criticized the UN for supposedly not doing enough to address hunger and terrorism, particularly in Syria and Iraq, that continue to claim lives of innocent civilians.

“You have done nothing. Where were you here the last time? Never. Except to criticize. When have you done a good deed to my country?”, Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City on Sunday.

The priest urged Duterte to “look at the wider spectrum” instead of a “myopic” view on issues, adding the UN has the capacity to help and structure for humanitarian response.

“We can’t afford to be excluded,” Gariguez said. (CBCPNews) 

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