The United States has pledged an amount of $6.7 million (around P320 million) to the Duterte administration, to be used to boost law enforcement in the Philippines. The announcement comes nearly three weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte made his controversial remarks to US President Barack Obama, who later said he did not take personally.
As reported at Rappler this Saturday, September 24, William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has already approved the said funds, with the exact amount of $6.725 million (around P323.304 million), as support to the law enforcement programs in the country.
“Wherever the funds eventually go, these will be used in strict compliance with US legal obligations, and basic international law enforcement and policing standards,” Brownfield told Rappler, noting that the money will be used to improve the country’s maritime security, strengthen the rule of law, and to intensify the due process in the justice system.
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“Obviously, any program in the Philippines eventually must be decided by the government of the Philippines, but I also have to be assured that the program would not put us in violation of US law. And if the program is in any sensitive area, this could take a good period of time,” He added, emphasizing that the US will be monitoring the movement of the upcoming programs, are being expected to be rolling before the end of the year.
Brownfield, who also served as US ambassador to Venezuela, Chile and Colombia, said he approved the funds in line with the on-going Philippines vs China dispute over South China Sea, as well as the intensified campaign of President Duterte against illegal drugs. Nevertheless, the Philippines and the US will still have to discuss the specific details.
Late last July, the US government has also pledged the amount of $32 million (around P1.53 billion) as support to the training and services in the law enforcement system in the Philippines. This was confirmed by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, shortly after US Secretary of State John Kerry had courtesy call with President Rodrigo Duterte in Malacañang.