EU confirms PH declined aid after securing billions from China

Reuters

Posted at May 18 2017 08:28 AM | Updated as of May 18 2017 11:15 AM

Ambassador Franz Jessen. File Photo

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippine government has told the European Union it will no longer accept development aid from the bloc, putting at risk programs to assist poor and conflict-hit regions in the country's south, Europe's ambassador said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Franz Jessen said the decision to cut aid from the EU, a strong critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's drugs war, would mean the loss of about 250 million euros (P13.89 billion) worth of grants mostly allocated to Muslim communities.

Manila's move comes days after Duterte won billions of dollars in pledges from China after attending the Belt and Road summit in Beijing.

"The Philippine government has informed us they no longer accept new EU grants," Jessen said without elaborating.

The EU will issue a statement on Thursday, officially announcing the end of its funding agreement with the Philippines.

There was no immediate response from the Philippines' foreign ministry.

Duterte says European nations don't understand the extent of the narcotics problem in the Philippines.

Official data from the Philippine National Police pegs the total number of homicide cases since Duterte came into power at 9,432.

Of this number, 1,847 are said to be drug-related, while 1,894 are not. The remaining 5,691, approximately 60 percent of the total figure, are still under investigation.

The EU has supported Manila's efforts to end a decades-old Muslim rebellion that has killed more than 120,000 people and stunted growth in one of the country's resource-rich regions.

It granted 130 million euros in development assistance between 2007 to 2013. In 2015, it pledged 325 million euros (P18.01 billion) over four years to finance projects in Mindanao after Manila signed a peace deal with rebels in March 2014.

The largest chunk, 225-million euros or 69 percent of the total, was supposedly to help the Philippines make growth "more inclusive and more sustainable" by providing electricity to more people and generating jobs, especially for women.

The EU also pledged 95-million euros in aid to promote "good governance and respect for human rights in the Philippines" by strengthening rule of law, public access to information, and improving the justice service delivery.

It earmarked another 5-million euros to support the preparation and implementation of actions under the MIP, such as feasibility studies, consultation and planning workshops, outreach, audits, and evaluations.

-- with ABS-CBN News