Philippines opens its doors to refugees

Speaking on the refugee crisis which has plagued Europe, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines is willing to take them in and carry the burden.​

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a conference with businessmen in Davao city,

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has blasted the West for its "hypocrisy" for closing borders to an influx of refugees whom he said he would welcome to Philippines until the country was "filled to the brim."

Speaking on the refugee crisis which has plagued Europe, Duterte said Western nations had failed those in need and the Philippines, a developing country of 100 million, was willing to take them in and carry the burden.​

A civil war which began in Syria in 2011 after a crackdown on pro-democracy protests around the country has so far claimed over 400,000 lives and rendered over 10 million people homeless, triggering one of the worst refugee crisis in the world.

"It's all right. We will survive. I say send them to us. We will accept them. We will accept them. They are human beings." - Duterte

According to UNHCR figures, over 342,774 refugees arrived on European shores in 2016 by sea while at least 4,621 lives were lost during the perilous journey.​

Duterte also hit back at his critics for scrutinising his war on drugs and called out the United States (US) for "bullying," in a short documentary broadcasted by Qatar-based television network, Al-Jazeera.

"The US is where "bigotry is very much alive" and where police kill innocent people, not drug dealers."

He also accused Washington of double standards and stated as far as human rights are concerned, the Philippines is in the same league as the US.

Since he was elected as president in May, his domestic policy has focused on combating illegal drug trade by initiating the Philippine Drug War.

Although his war on drugs has claimed 3,171 lives since he took office, his popularity is on the rise.

On July 20, 2016, Pulse Asia released a poll conducted from July 2–8 which showed that 91 percent of Filipinos trusted Duterte, making him the most trusted official in the Philippines.

TRTWorld and agencies