The Philippines Welcomes Refugees: ‘They Can Always Come Here’

(teleSUR) Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte decried western hypocrisy saying his country would welcome refugees until it was “filled to the brim.”

In a wide-ranging interview broadcast on Al Jazeera Thursday, the Philippine president criticized western governments who have closed their doors to refugees fleeing U.S.-backed wars, saying his country would welcome them.

“I say send them to us. We will accept them. We will accept them. They are human beings,” he said. In light of the failure of western countries to support those most in need, Duterte said the Philippines would step in. “They can always come here, and will be welcome here, until we are filled to the brim,” he continued.

Image Credit: Flickr - Creative Commons - Prachatal
Image Credit: Flickr – Creative Commons – Prachatal

Duterte pointed out that western nations “seem to be very accommodating on human rights but suddenly change course and say no”. “You stay there. We will build a wall [and put up] barbed wire. And now the hypocrite is there, staring at us eyeball to eyeball,” he added.

Duterte´s comments come as he meets with many of those same world leaders at the APEC summit in Peru.

Duterte also railed against U.S. criticisms of his government’s “War on Drugs” saying “bigotry is very much alive” in the U.S. and police kill innocent people, not “drug pushers”.

“If I look like a bad boy to them I really do not give a shit,” he said. “Who are they to me? They are nothing.”

Since his election Duterte, who continues to enjoy record approval ratings, has launched a nationwide anti-drug campaign that has seen more than 3,680 people killed and drawn harsh criticisms from human rights activists around the world.

The interview was broadcast on the same day that former U.S. backed Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried with full military honors in the country’s “heroes cemetery” despite protests by Philippine human rights activists, many of whom were targeted by the Marcos government´s brutal 20-year regime which saw the death and disappearances of tens of thousands.

Vice President Leni Robredo said Marcos was buried “like a thief in the night.”
“This is nothing new to the Marcoses – they who had hidden wealth, hidden human rights abuses and now hidden burial – with complete disrespect for the rule of law,” Robredo said in a statement.

Duterte, who had the backing of the Marcos family during his presidential campaign, personally approved of the ceremony saying it was his right as a former president and a soldier, though details of the funeral were kept quiet in an attempt to avoid protests.

This post originally ran on teleSUR.