A DAY after Malacañang announced that the Philippines will reject new grants from the European Union (EU), President Rodrigo Duterte blasted the 28-nation bloc anew for imposing conditions on providing assistance to the Filipino people.
Duterte on Friday explained that he approved the recommendation of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to reject about $200 million in financial aid from EU to block any interference from them.
The Chief Executive said he cut assistance from the EU, staunch critic of his drug war policy, as it provided a "consensual" contract that he must uphold human rights, law and order.
He said he rejected the idea that the European Parliament could be given the right to question his programs and policies, including his ongoing war on illegal drugs, if he accepts the monetary assistance.
"EU gave $200 million, attaching a note ‘We’ll grant you [aid]. They said, it’s supposed to be a consensual [deal].’ They gave it (financial aid) to us, indicating, ‘giving you [this] to promote human rights, law and order,’" Duterte said in a speech delivered at the 33rd Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary National Convention in Davao City.
“To tell you the truth, it was not my idea initially. It was the decision of Carlos Dominguez III, Finance Secretary. [He’s] bright [as he told me], ‘Look, President, if you receive [or] accept the money, they will have the right to question where’s the money and interfere because you accept that. Under that condition, they can question you now about human rights,’” he added.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Thursday said that the Duterte administration will no longer accept any aid from EU that “may allow it to interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines.”
Abella was also confident that the Philippines can stand even without the European bloc’s assistance.
"Economic results tell us that we are growing and in fact, we are improving. We can manage. We're confident, aren't you? I am," he told a press conference.
Duterte’s move to decline offers from EU came on the heels of his recent visit to China that secures billions of grants from Chinese government to the Philippines.
The President called the EU “stupid” anew over the conditions set for granting aid.
He also said the Filipino people can live on their own, even though he decides not to rely on European lawmakers.
“You are stupid. They are really stupid,” Duterte said. ““Do not underestimate us. Take your money, we will survive.” (SunStar Philippines)