THE Philippine government is not inclined to accept "grants with conditions" from European Union (EU) to avoid the bloc's supposed interference in the country's domestic issues, Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella made the statement a day after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano announced that the Philippines would no longer accept new aid from the EU.
This developed following President Rodrigo Duterte's latest pronouncement that the Philippines would reject grants from the European bloc as it insults the country's sovereignty.
Abella, in a press conference, said Duterte issued a clear directive to ensure that the country's sovereignty would not be compromised.
"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 is apparently the position of the President at this stage," Abella said.
"Certainly we have a lot of needs. The nation is quite challenged in many areas. However, the President has again and again underlined that we're not to be mendicants and we're not to compromise the sovereignty of the nation," he added.
On Wednesday, Duterte said his administration would no longer accept EU's aid because of latter's purported interference in his local policies.
The President said it would be better than the Philippines "remains poor" rather than being controlled by the EU.
"I will not accept it. It's alright that we remain poor. I will tell the people that we can remain poor. If they just keep on dictating us what to do,... we cannot be forever dependent on aid," Duterte said.
"I am cursing at them because they do not know how to respect the sovereignty," he added.
Duterte's order came following his series of tirades against the EU for allegedly lobbying for the Philippines' expulsion of the member-state of the United Nations (EU).
The EU, however, had denied that it recommended repealing the Philippines' membership in the UN.
Since last year, the President has become critical of the EU because of allegedly criticizing his campaign against illegal drugs.
In May, the Philippines also declined to accept EU's grants following Duterte's remark that Filipino people can survive sans its assistance.
For now, Abella said the government remained open to negotiating with the European bloc when it comes to trade agreement.
"We are committed to trade, not so much to aid and grants with conditions, okay? So we're more committed to that rather than pursue aids and grants with conditions," he said. (SunStar Philippines)