PH rejection of EU aid not a setback for Marawi rehab, says official

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 23 2017 07:07 PM

Evacuees get free drinking water from a fire truck parked along a main street in Baloi, Lanao Del Sur, southern Philippines October 21, 2017, a few days after President Duterte announced the liberation of Marawi city against pro-Islamic State militant groups. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA – The Philippine government’s decision to reject all future aid from the European Union, including those meant to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi City, will not affect the rebuilding of the city devastated by Islamic State-inspired terrorists, an official said Monday. 

Office of Civil Defense Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima said the government has plenty of sources for aid even if the Philippines decides to reject aid from the EU.

“There are other posible donors…We will of course exhaust all other possibilities and we’re being also assisted by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank regarding this,” Purisima said in a news conference in Malacañang.

“I don’t think it will be a setback. We’ve been receiving pledges of support and we’ve been receiving support from many other sectors and therefore we will be open to evaluating all their pledges and all the supports that they plan to give.”

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said the Philippines will no longer accept aid from the European bloc so it would stop from meddling into Manila’s internal affairs.

Duterte has repeatedly criticized the EU in his speeches, saying its members do not understand the magnitude of Manila's drug problem. He also accused the bloc of undue interference in the Philippines’ internal affairs.

EU lawmakers who visited the Philippines in July had criticized Duterte's anti-narcotics war, citing the more than 3,000 deaths in anti-drug operations and alleged human rights violations in the country. 

Amid what it believes is the EU’s interference into Manila’s affairs, the administration in May declined 250 million Euros (P13.89 billion) in fresh grants from the EU.