Sunday, August 18, 2019

Philippines accepts EU grant to fund drug rehab centers

MALACAÑANG on Monday, March 5, thanked the European Union (EU) for granting €3.8 million in assistance for the construction of drug rehabilitation centers in the country.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. expressed the Duterte government's willingness to accept the financial assistance since the European bloc did not impose any conditions.

He said the EU's grant to the Philippines would help President Rodrigo Duterte fulfill his pledge to curb the drug menace under his watch.

"We thank the European Union for offering €3.8-million aid to fund the drug rehabilitation centers in the country," he said in a press briefing.

"The EUs’ desire to support our drug rehabilitation centers (run) parallel with the Duterte administration's holistic approach to the drug problem by treating it not just a national security issue but a public health concern as well including rehabilitation and reintegration of the drug dependents," he added.

Stefano Manservisi, European Commission's Directorate for International Cooperation and Development, on March 2 said the Duterte administration can expect the monetary assistance to be delivered in the "next days."

Roque said the €3.8-million aid would be channeled into the Department of Health, the agency that facilitates the drug rehabilitation program.

The grant came on the heels of the President's announcement that he would not accept any "grants with conditions" from the EU.

In October 2016, Duterte rejected the EU's grants which carried certain conditions that need to be adhered to by the Philippines. He gave the directive to block the European Union from intervening in the Philippines' domestic issues.

The Duterte government in January turned down the P382-million worth of Trade Related Technical Assistance from the EU because of failure to come to terms with the "unacceptable language" on sovereignty.

But Philippine officials earlier clarified that the Philippines is still keen on accepting EU grants, as long as there are no conditions.

Roque reiterated that Duterte's previous order not to accept grants with conditions remains in effect.

"The President, as we all know, is amenable to accepting any aid but without any unilateral conditions. He will reject, as he did in previous occasions, offer of assistance with any condition that would interfere with our domestic policies," he said. (SunStar Philippines)
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