MANILA—Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Thursday downplayed the country’s decision to reject millions of dollars in aid from the European Union.
“This is not a policy decision, this is not going to be customary, it’s a one-time act,” Pernia told reporters, noting the rejection came amid EU criticism over issues concerning human rights in the Philippines.
He said grants coming from other countries can compensate for whatever is lost from a rejected EU grant.
“I’m not worried too much… I don’t think it’s going to remain as such,” added Pernia, also the director general of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The EU was the Philippines’ eighth biggest source of official development assistance (ODA) and grants in 2016, with aid reaching USD 217 million.
Top ODA and grants providers last year were Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB).
For his part, acting Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Robespierre Bolivar said the Philippines and EU can still work together to improve the process of their development cooperation.
“There is room to consult jointly on how to improve the process, on how to improve the accountability,” he said.
Bolivar stressed that development cooperation between donors and country recipients worldwide is an evolving process.