Photo from the UN Human Rights Council

The Duterte government has lifted the suspension of all loans and grants from 18 countries that supported a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council that called for scrutiny of the Philippines’s human rights situation.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea announced the decision in a Feb. 27, 2020 memorandum to all Cabinet secretaries and heads of agencies, and state corporations, saying the lifting of the suspension took effect “immediately.”

“It is understood, however, that all necessary approvals, authorities and clearances, as required by relevant laws, rules, and regulations should first be obtained prior to actual negotiations and conclusions of any agreement,” Medialdea said.

Medialdea ordered the suspension on Aug. 27, 2019, weeks following the UN rights council vote on July 11, 2019, striking a defiant tone against the international community.

Eighteen countries voted in favor of the Iceland resolution. Fourteen were against and 15 abstained during the 41st session of the rights council in Geneva.

Among those who voted against the resolution were China and a number of African and Middle Eastern countries. The Philippine delegation voted “no.”

Aside from Iceland, those who voted “yes” included Argentina, Austria, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. Japan, a major trading partner, abstained. (