Malacañang has ordered all departments and agencies to stop negotiations for all loans and grants from countries that voted in favor of a resolution, introduced by Iceland before the United Nations Human Rights Council in July, to issue a full report on the Philippines’s human rights situation.

The order was relayed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea in a memorandum dated Aug. 27. 

“In light of the Administration’s strong rejection of the Resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which was carried through by the votes of the minority of the Council members on 11 July 2019 and calls upon the Philippines to take certain actions in relation to alleged human rights violations in the country, all concerned officials are DIRECTED to suspend negotiations for and signing of all loan and grant agreements with the governments of the countries that co-sponsored and/or voted in favor of the aforesaid resolution, pending the assessment of our relations with these countries,” Medialdea said.

“This directive shall take effect immediately and shall remain effective until lifted by this Office,” he added.

Eighteen countries voted in favor of the resolution, 14 were against and 15 abstained during the 41st session of the rights council in Geneva.

Among those who voted against the resolution, introduced by Iceland, 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.

The Palace and Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. were livid following July’s humiliating council vote, and vowed swift retaliation.

Locsin said on Saturday the loans were onerous and benefited mostly consultants.

“That’s old stuff actually; long before the failed Iceland resolution. DOF (Department of Finance) didn’t like them; not worth the candle considering the amounts and the terms and the money goes mostly to consultants,” he said on Twitter. (PressONE.ph)