The Department of National Defense (DND) will be asking to exempt Australia from the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to order to ban new loans and grants from countries that voted in favor of a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution to investigate the Philippines’ war on drugs.
National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during today’s Senate committee hearing on the DND’s proposed 2020 budget that they are in talks with Australia for 6 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) for Philippine Navy.
“We will comply with the memo, but I will ask for some exemption if there is a need to do it, and I would like maybe to make it clear now that we would like an exemption for Australia,” Secretary Lorenzana said at the budget hearing.
“We are still talking with the Australians. I have just written them a letter that we would like to avail of financing from the government of Australia and they have not yet replied to me. Once I get that reply, then I will ask for an exemption from the President,” the defense chief added.
Secretary Lorenzana said that he is “almost certain” that President Duterte will grant the exemption “because it will benefit our people.”