Bishop tells Duterte: Prove sincerity on Rohingya refugees

Bishop tells Duterte: Prove sincerity on Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugees take a bath at the makeshift Katupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh on Dec. 4, 2017. JOE TORRES/UCAN

April 12, 2018

Manila, Philippines

As President Rodrigo Duterte offered Rohingya Muslim refugees a home in the Philippines, a Catholic bishop has warned against a publicity stunt.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said the refugees continue to suffer in dire situation and don’t deserve to be put through political stunts.

“If it’s a charity it should be unconditional, not tied up to what others should do,” Pabillo said. “We have to be careful because it may just be another publicity stunt of Duterte.”

Duterte on April 5 said “genocide” was taking place in Myanmar and he was willing to accept refugees to the country.

He also attacked the international community, which has been critical of his drug war, for its inability to resolve the Rohingya crisis.

The bishop said that if Duterte is concerned about the refugees, he should exert his influence on Myanmar to be accountable to its army’s crackdown on the Rohingya.

Duterte should also tell other member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to “pressure” Myanmar to act on the crisis.

“But of course he will not do that. Accountability is not his cup of tea,” Pabillo said.

Duterte in January said he advised Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to ignore criticisms from human rights organizations for her perceived silence on the problem.