Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will soon meet with the European Union officials after admitting that the relationship between the Philippines and the European bloc are going through “rocky period” due to the imposed conditions to be eligible for grant aids.
Cayetano, who was ambushed by diplomatic reporters during his first visit at the Office of Consular Affairs (OCA) upon assumption of the DFA post reiterated the Philippines will not accept new aid from EU if it will interfere with the internal affairs of the country.
The Secretary explained the EU should assure the Philippines that there is no strings attached in their humanitarian aid, they will not interfere in the Philippines internal affairs and support the government’s law and order campaign.
“We have good relations with EU but it’s going to a rocky period or roller coaster ride but we’re in this ride together. So I will see the Ambassador immediately when I come back from Russia and we’ll try to navigate this roller coaster ride together,” Cayetano said.
He said the government has announced that “we will not accept aid from any country if there is strings attached. Kung may mga condition because we are independent nation and we have an independent foreign policy.”
“We’re just telling them very respectfully we believe in our independence, we know our problems better than you, you are welcome here let’s do business but we will not accept aid if there are conditions or you will interfere,” he added “but if the aid will help us or you will help us with our present problems and we can agree on a framework, that can be a different matter.”
He said this policy of the Philippines applies to all countries giving aid to the Philippines.
The Secretary cited that China and Japan have long been providing aids to the Philippines without any conditions.
President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance “not to accept the EU’s offer of a grant (of) about $280 million (P15.5 billion) which would involve review of our adherence to the rule of law. That specific grant is considered interference in our internal affairs.”
EU Head of Delegation to the Philippines Franz Jessen said they were informed about the Philippines decision not to accept new aid from the bloc.