The Philippines' top diplomat criticized the United States on Friday for deferring a decision on a major aid package over human rights concerns and said the Philippines can survive without it.
Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the uncertainty over the aid package emerged after President Rodrigo Duterte declared he would chart a foreign policy independent of the United States.
A U.S. government aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, said this week that its board deferred a vote on a renewal of the development assistance package for the Philippines "subject to a further review of concerns around rule of law and civil liberties."
The Philippines had been slated for another aid package after its previous five-year, $434 million poverty reduction program was completed in May under Duterte's predecessor, Benigno Aquino III. Duterte took office in June.
The agency's spokeswoman, Laura Allen, said Thursday it will continue to monitor events in the Philippines before the next board review in March 2017.
The U.S. decision is among the first signs of how concerns about the rule of law and human rights under Duterte could entail economic costs.
The U.S. government, along with European Union and United Nations officials, has raised concerns about Duterte's crackdown on illegal drugs, which has left more than 2,000 suspected drug users and dealers dead in purported gunbattles with police. More than 3,000 other deaths are being investigated to determine if they were linked to illegal drugs.