Palace says PH open to EU trade, advice, but not aid
The government would welcome trade and “constructive advice” from the European Union, but not aid with conditions, Malacañang said.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella issued this statement on Friday after Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano was quoted in reports as saying it was his impression that the country would now reject all kinds of aid and grants from the EU.
“We can say this, that we’re always open to the offer of constructive advice and of course… we are also very, very open to trade, and not so much to aid and grants with conditions,” said Abella.
“If it’s tied to, and if certain conditionalities are tied to the aid and grant, we must respectfully decline as we do not wish to subject ourselves to monitoring or be dictated to.”
That, he said, “is apparently the position” of President Duterte “at this stage.”
Asked if he meant the government would not decline all kinds of assistance, such as help for rebuilding Marawi, for instance, Abella said he could not specifically answer for this.
“It all depends on the conditionalities that are being given,” he said. “But one thing we are sure, we are open to, of course, trade.”
While the country has many needs and is “quite challenged in many areas,” the President does not want it to appear like a beggar and to put its independence at risk.
“The President has again and again underlined that this is not… we are not to be mendicants and that we are not to compromise the sovereignty of the nation,” he said.
Mr. Duterte went on an expletive-filled rant against the EU recently, mistakenly slamming the bloc for supposedly warning that the Philippines could be expelled from the United Nations if it failed to take action against drug-related killings in the country.
After apparently being informed that the EU had made no such call, Mr. Duterte then blamed the group for not speaking up earlier to disown the statement made against his administration by the Progressive Alliance, the political group in the European Parliament of socialists and democrats.
The alliance also warned that the Philippines could lose preferential trade deals with the EU if the government failed to stop the drug killings.
The warning about the Philippines losing its membership in the UN Human Rights Council—and not the UN—actually came from the group Human Rights Watch.
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