Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday said the Philippines is turning down all kinds of aid from the European Union (EU).
In an interview with reporters, Cayetano said the announcement came from President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive. He also said that before this announcement was made, Cayetano already received the instructions, however he was not allowed to open a discussion about it.
In a speech on Wednesday at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, Duterte declared that the Philippines will no longer receive grants from the EU, saying that it was an insult to the country’s sovereignty.
“Kaya ko ‘yan sila (EU) minumura kasi they do not know how to respect sovereignty [I’m cursing them (EU) because they do not know how to respect sovereignty],” he said.
“Kailangan natin aid. Pero kung ganon lang naman, tuturuan ka kung paano gawin… that’s pedantry [We need aid but if they will instruct us how to do it… that’s pedantry],” the President added.
Cayetano said they will convey the Philippine government’s decision to EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen.
“With the President’s directive now, then we’ll have to communicate formally to the EU ambassador, His Excellency Ambassador Jessen, that as of now, we will not accept aid,” Cayetano said.
Despite this decision, Foreign Affairs Secretary hopes it will not affect the countries overall relationship with the EU.
“It should not affect our overall relationship, it should not affect our trade, it should not affect our bilateral relationship,” Cayetano said.
When asked if such policy involves all kinds of aid, Cayetano said,”That’s my impression. So aid meaning grants.”
In an interview on Wednesday night, Cayetano said that while the Philippines was being treated as a sovereign nation, the EU might use the agreement as an “excuse” to criticize the Philippines on certain aspects of its governance.
Cayetano also said that he met with EU officials and told them that their pre-conditions are “more damaging than helpful.” Cayetano said, for example, one of their stipulations was that EU can “unilaterally” cut the program if there are human rights violations.
“We didn’t want it unilateral. Where’s the due process? Aren’t we going to talk about this?” he asked.
Meanwhile, the EU’s Weigand earlier said that they will not earnestly ask the Philippines to receive European aid, adding that there is “no lack of other countries” to help if the country turn down their offer.