MANILA – Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Friday borrowed a line from the hit movie “Heneral Luna” to defend President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to refuse aid from the European Union: “Negosyo o kalayaan? (Business or freedom?).”
Lopez said development aid should not come with preconditions, since this would go against Duterte’s policy of “non-interference” from foreign governments.
The biopic of Antonio Luna, the hot-headed general who led the Philippine Revolutionary Army against Spain, was a surprise hit in 2015, with his passionate lines on nationalism.
“Kalayaan ba o negosyo? It is very clear now, na kalayaan ang pinaka-priority natin,” Lopez told ANC.
(Freedom or business? It is very clear now that freedom is our priority.)
Lopez said the Philippines was refusing assistance from the EU that was tied to the observance of human rights.
“We follow human rights. We follow the rule of law. Nobody has to tell us that. I think that’s the point,” he said.
“The bottomline here, that’s Filipino dignity. May dignidad tayo. Hindi tayo namamalimos. Kung gusto tumulong, tumulong,” he said.
(We have dignity. We are not beggars. They can help if they want to.)
“Maaaring mas mabagal pagdevelop, hindi tayo mas yayaman kaagad, but at least we have our principles and we have dignity,” he said.
(We might not develop as fast, we might not be rich fast enough but at least we have our principles and we have dignity.)