Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo on Tuesday underscored the importance of human rights, and hoped that the country's current situation would not negatively affect its trading relations with the European Union.
"I am aware that human rights is currently a contentious issue in our country. I never thought I would see the day when such a universally accepted...concept can be painted as undesirable and wrong," she said before European businessmen in a speech at the EU-Philippines Business Summit in Parañaque City.
Just last Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened diplomats of the European Union to leave the Philippines within 24 hours, after a delegation of the Progressive Alliance and party of European Socialists warned that the Philippines' Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) may be affected should killings in the country persist.
The EU later clarified that the delegation was not an official EU mission.
The GSP+, currently under review by the EU, grants the Philippines zero duties on some 6,274 locally made products.
The agreement between the two parties requires the Philippine ratification of 27 international conventions which cater to human and labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance, among others.
"Every day, I worry about how this will affect our young ones and our future generations, but I hope that this will not extensively strain relations between my country and the European Union," Robredo said, adding that the Philippines values the EU's friendship and support beyond economics, trade and aid. — GMA News