EU ready to provide fresh aid of at least 170 million euros for Philippines
The European Union is ready to provide fresh aid, amounting to at least 170 million euros, for the Philippines despite Manila's rejection of an earlier trade related assistance.
In a press conference in Makati City, visiting European Commission Director-General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi said Friday the additional assistance will be contained in a financial agreement that the two have been working on
He noted the financial deal will contain certain "modification" so it would not be construed that EU is meddling in the internal affairs of the country.
"Well, if you put that in this way, I would say, yes. Of course, we never had the intention, no, the action to interfere in whatsoever," he said when asked if the modification on financial deal U is negotiating with Manila somehow aims to address President Rodrigo Duterte's concern about EU's alleged intervention to a sovereign state.
But he added the financial agreement will be governed by the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which the Philippine Senate ratified on January 22 despite its signing in 2012.
Under the PCA, he noted respect for human rights and other international conventions is mentioned.
Duterte has said his administration would not accept foreign assistance if it would have conditions, particularly on human rights.
He got irked with EU when some of its lawmakers raised concern over alleged extrajudicial killings of individuals said to be involved in illegal drugs in the Philippines.
Thus, Manila rejected the 6.1-million euros worth trade related technical assistance (TRTA) that EU had been offering last year by not signing the deal.
Manservisi said new a financial agreement EU has been working with Manila focuses on energy and Mindanao.
He said EU could even add 30 million to 50 million euros more depending on the projects that will be implemented together with other multilateral agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank and World Bank.
During his two-day visit in Manila, Manservisi said he talked with the Philippines' special envoy to EU Edgardo Angara, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, among others.
During his talks with them, he said no one mentioned about the EU's supposedly meddling into the internal affairs of the Philippines, particularly on human rights.
He also refused to comment on Duterte's expletives against the EU, saying there is a distinction between a political dialogue and the other cooperation between Manila and the EU.
The EU official added they are ready to disburse 3.8 million euros to assist the government's campaign against illegal drugs. The amount is part of 260 million euro aid that the EU has programmed for the Philippines during the past years. Celerina Monte/DMS