Philippine President Duterte visits Myanmar

Pauline Gross
March 21, 2017

Duterte, in an apparent about-turn from his open stance on the matter during his presidential campaign previous year, also cited differences in cultural values and practices between Western nations and the Philippines.

President Duterte handed over yesterday to Myanmar the Philippines' $300,000 contribution to humanitarian efforts to Rakhine State where a team of United Nations special rapporteurs expressed concerns on extrajudicial killings, gang rapes and possible ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the region.

The text also calls for the immediate release of Senator Leila de Lima, a critic of Duterte's who was arrested last month on what the parliament says are feared to be "almost entirely fabricated" charges.

Thai officials are unlikely to raise the issue with the Philippine guest, but the Duterte drug wars have often been compared with a similar, but shorter campaign by ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Since taking office in the middle of past year Duterte has overseen a ruthless campaign to eradicate illegal drugs which he says are threatening to turn the Philippines into a narco-state. The Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also warned Duterte may be overseeing crimes against humanity, with police allegedly running anonymous death squads. "More people will die. I said I will not stop", he said.

At a forum in January previous year, during the run-up to the presidential election, he said he would push for legislation to allow same-sex marriage.

Reacting to criticism that the operation targeted the poor, Duterte said he must "destroy" small-time street peddlers as well as the big-time drug lords. In response, he said he had to "destroy" small-time street peddlers as well as the big-time drug lords.

"Do not impose your culture or your belief in what would be a government in this planet", Duterte said. Duterte added: "You stay where God assigned you. Let us uphold the sanctity of life and make a stand against death penalty", the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines said in the special pastoral statement. Do not mix us all up'.

Other reports by GizPress

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