By Genalyn D. Kabiling
The European Union (EU) is reportedly planning to give another development aid worth 70 million euros to the Philippines despite the recent tirade by President Duterte.
Former Senator Edgardo Angara, currently President Duterte’s special envoy to the EU, said this would be on top of the 250 million euros recently extended by the EU for peace and development efforts in Mindanao.
“I think they will give us an additional 70 million euros,” Angara told reporters at the sidelines of a regional forum in Pasay City. “I think for Mindanao pa rin,” he added.
Following the President’s complaint against foreign aid that comes with conditions, Angara said the Philippines and EU have already reached a “compromise language” on the issue of grants and other development aid.
“We agreed on a formula that the project to be funded by their grant will be our choice through NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority). If they want to revoke or cancel it, it will only be upon mutual consultation. That’s acceptable to us,” he said.
“Because the President was right, why would you give aid that has conditionality,” he added.
Prior to the new arrangement, Angara said the EU had the authority to cancel the aid if “we are violating labor rights, environmental rights and human rights.”
“Now before they do that, we will consult with each other. That’s democratic,” he said.
Angara claimed that reports that the government was rejecting EU aid were already “stale news” following the new arrangement negotiated by the two parties.
“Let’s not revive the warfare. That’s over. That’s stale news,” he said.
The President recently said he was not inclined to accept foreign development aid that comes with conditions that could harm the country’s sovereignty.
In his tirade against the European Union for allegedly meddling with local affairs, the President said the country may be poor but could survive without foreign assistance.
“Kaya ganun na lang ang tingin ko diyan sa EU. Kaya ko ‘yan sila minumura kasi they do not know how to respect sovereignty [That’s why I look the EU that way. That’s why I am cursing them because they do not know how to respect sovereignty],” he said.
“Kailangan natin aid pero kung ganun lang naman, tuturan ka kung paano gawin tapos ‘yung they begin to sukit-sukit — ‘yung try to examine the papers, ‘yung pedantry [We need aid but if that’s the way it’s given, they will teach you how to spend it, they try to examine the papers, the pedantry],” he added.
He said the country cannot be “forever depending on aid.” “That’s very stupid of some public officials to talk of aid as if it is a matter of survival of our country if we do not accept it,” he added.