Duterte declines EU aid after securing billions from China
THE PHILIPPINE government has told the European Union it will no longer accept development aid from the bloc, putting at risk programs to assist poor and conflict-hit regions in the country's south, Europe's ambassador said.
Ambassador Franz Jessen said the decision to cut aid from the EU, a strong critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's drugs war, would mean the loss of about 250 million euros (P13.89 billion) worth of grants mostly allocated to Muslim communities.
Manila's move comes days after Duterte won billions of dollars in pledges from China after attending the Belt and Road summit in Beijing.
"The Philippine government has informed us they no longer accept new EU grants," Jessen said without elaborating.
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He said the EU will issue a statement officially announcing the end of its funding agreement with the Philippines.
There was no immediate response from the Philippines' foreign ministry.
Duterte says European nations don't understand the extent of the narcotics problem in the Philippines.
Official data from the Philippine National Police pegs the total number of homicide cases since Duterte came into power at 9,432.
Of this number, 1,847 are said to be drug-related, while 1,894 are not. The remaining 5,691, approximately 60% of the total figure, are still under investigation.
The EU has been providing support to Manila's efforts to end nearly 50 years of Muslim rebellion in a conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people, displaced 1 million and stunted growth in one of the country's resource-rich regions.
It granted the Philippines 130 million euros in development assistance between 2007-2013. In 2015, it pledged 325 million euros over four years to finance projects in Muslim Mindanao after Manila signed a peace deal with rebels in March 2014.
But Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said Duterte could take back his rejection of the EU aid. Pernia said it was not a policy, referring to the government’s rejection of the EU aid. "On face value, it appears to be not a good move, but I don't think it's not going to remain as such,” he said.