Manila, Philippines. A major scandal has erupted after an obscure United Kingdom official spoke of “shared values” in advance of a policy speech by Philippine President Duterte saying he “would kill people” to schoolchildren.
The day before Liam Fox said the UK has “shared values” with the Philippines, the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte told an audience of young children he was “angry” and would “kill people if they destroy our youth.” Mr Duterte’s war on drugs has left thousands of people dead since his election last year, and he has previously said he “doesn’t give a shit about human rights.”
Back in the UK, response and condemnation was predictably swift; Dr Fox, the International Trade Secretary, was criticised for his “shared values” speech. International trade secretary second grade Barry Gardiner said Dr Fox’s comments were “frankly shocking,” adding,”I’m sorry, but we do not have these shared common values with president Duterte who wants to bring back the death penalty and lower the age of criminal responsibility to nine.”
“I am really strict,” Mr Duterte told children aged between four and 10 at an ceremony for Boys Scouts at the presidential palace. The President continued, “And they said I kill people. I really will kill people if they destroy our children.”
He went on to threaten drug addicts,”You drug addicts, since you’ve been identified, avoid the streets, stay in your homes because I will throw you in Manila Bay. I’ll make you fertilizer for the fish,” he said.Mr Duterte also said he planned to restore basic military training in universities to instill discipline, stepping up the government’s crackdown on narcotics.
“I need soldiers, I need Boy Scouts. Who wants to become soldiers?” he asked. “I am counting on you, are you ready? Answer me, children. Always love your country.”
A UK opposition official Tom Brake said, “Duterte is one of the 21st century’s most sinister leaders and Liam Fox has flown halfway around the world to grovel to him,” adding, “The fact that the first visit made by Fox since triggering Article 50 is to the Philippines shows just how low this government is willing to stoop in order to secure even a minimal trade deal in the future.”
Mr Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown since taking power has left more than 7,000 people dead, alarming Western governments.