Philippines rejects 'interfering' European aid

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

Franz Jessen, EU ambassador to the Philippines, said he was informed this week of the government's decision to stop receiving aid from Europe, which was funding about 100 community projects across the country.

European countries have criticized Duterte's brutal drug war, and in response Duterte has bristled at the idea that development assistance gives foreign governments any leverage over his administration.

Mr Duterte, 72, has repeatedly criticised the European Union for condemning his drug war, which has led to accusations of a crime against humanity.

The Filipino leader has since then threatened to reject European Union grants on several occasion, arguing the bloc is using them to try and influence the country's internal policies.

According to the EU Delegation to the Philippines, the bloc allocated over $300 million to various programs in Philippines for the period between 2014 and 2020.

However, Pernia told reporters: "I will not take that as a policy". The Philippines' economic planning minister told Reuters that the policy could change, describing it as, "a reaction to criticism".

"I strongly suggest that the government think this over carefully", she said.

Duterte a year ago used vulgar language and raised his middle finger in response to a European parliament statement expressing concern over the killings.

President Duterte has thrown scathing words at the European Union ever since it expressed concern over the government's war on drugs that began in July 2016.

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He said due to EU's support of the government's peace process, it provided around 80 percent of the total funds to the Mindanao Trust Fund - a facility set up by various donors to fund socio-economic recovery of conflict-affected communities in the southern region.

"Hitler massacred three million Jews". Shortly after taking office, Duterte launched a large-scale anti-drug campaign, during which police have killed thousands of people during anti-drug operations.

Europe granted the Philippines 130 million euros in development assistance between 2007-2013.

Thousands of alleged drug-traffickers have been killed in Mr. Duterte's bloody drug war, with human rights watchers saying many fatalities in the crackdown could be extrajudicial killings committed by cops and vigilantes.

Unknown assailants have killed more than 1,800 others, while about 5,700 other violent deaths are under investigation, according to police data.

That decision by the Philippine government came on the heels of President Rodrigo R. Duterte's arrival from his second visit in China, bringing home with him billions of dollars in pledges.

Before the Palace briefing, National Economic and Development Authority head Ernesto Pernia dismissed the decision - which he said was made before a Philippine delegation went to the United Nations in Geneva on May 8 to defend the country's human rights record - as a mere response to criticism.

Mr Duterte, a self-described socialist, has also forged warmer relations with Russian Federation, and will travel to Moscow next week to meet president Vladimir Putin.

Other reports by GizPress

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