Manila and the European Union (EU) are in talks for a possible development assistance, particularly for Mindanao, EU Ambassador Franz Jessen said Tuesday.
This despite recent statements of the Philippine government that the country will no longer receive aid from EU.
On the sidelines of the Fostering Partnership for Sustainability Through Education at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Ortigas, Jessen said the EU continued to work with various government agencies on projects and programs focusing on sustainable development.
“We have an ongoing dialogue with the government. And within that, we are focusing on the different sectors, particularly to support the peace process in Mindanao, and we do that with different actions,” the envoy told reporters.
He added that among the targeted development assistance of the EU in Mindanao, in collaboration with the Philippine government, include job creation, promotion of sustainable energy, and electrification in rural areqs.
“The amount is not determined yet but we are looking at a very substantial contribution to that,” he said.
Jessen said the EU, when granting aid for the Philippines, did not push any conditions specific for the country.
“We don’t have grants with specific conditions. There’s something to be misunderstanding on that,” he said.
The envoy mentioned that the EU, like any other donors, makes sure that there are specific targets and updates needed to be achieved.
“What we have is, as all other donors of course, when we provide grants, there will be title that this will go to this sector, and there are specific actions under that. And of course, we do not come with a sack of money and we gave that and we say you can do whatever you want,” Jessen said.
“There will always be terms of reference for the assistance,” he noted.
“So, it’s a general condition that other countries also signed up without any big conditions. And for the
Philippines, because nothing specific for the Philippines, it is we called general conditions,” the envoy stressed.
Jessen said all development assistance would undergo review and evaluation to ensure that grants were not tainted with corruption.
Meanwhile, the five-year development assistance of EU through the EU-SWITCH Policy Support Component Philippines is set to expire this month.
Through the program, the EU provided 3.5 million euros, or about Php 190 million, worth of technical assistance to the Philippine government, which resulted in several key policy measures supporting the country’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2011-2016 and the PDP 2017-2020 and the AmBisyon Natin 2040.