THE European Union said it would continue its development assistance to the Philippines until the Philippine government clarifies an earlier announcement by President Rodrigo Duterte of the cancellation of aid from the 28-nation bloc over supposed conditions related to human rights.
EU Ambassador to Philippines Franz Jessen said on Tuesday he has yet to receive a written notification from the Philippine government on the announcement of Duterte last May 18.
“We are not withdrawing any amount. We are in contact with the government on how best to work on our development assistance,” Jessen told reporters at the University of Santo Tomas where he spoke before a cultural event.
The President however repeated his order to cancel EU aid in an interview with Moscow’s Russia Today news channel, which was published Monday as he began a four-day official visit to Russia.
Duterte said he would rather deal with deal with Russia and China as the Western world was engaged in “double talk.”
“Why? Because the Western world, the EU, and everything – it’s all this double talk. So, the EU granted us $200 million, and this grant carried with it a condition that this money would be used to improve the human rights, and so on and so forth. I said, ‘No. I don’t need it,’” he said.
“In the guise of human rights, countries like EU and America are interfering [with]the affairs of other nations,” he added.
On Monday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano told reporters he would meet with Jessen upon his arrival next week from Russia.
Jessen said he was eager to meet Cayetano to once and for all clarify the issue.
Jessen, in earlier interview with The Manila Times, said a $278-million grant had been earmarked for Muslim Mindanao from 2016 to 2022, mostly for programs that would provide jobs and livelihood, among others.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has warned that Duterte was risking the duty-free privileges of Filipino exporters under the EU’s “Generalized Scheme of Preferences+” program.