Philippines: Duterte administration turns down EU's 250m euro grant

The Philippines government's decision came days after China assured billion-dollar worth of pledges to the South Asian country.

Philippine lawmaker files impeachment case against President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts during a news conference at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines March 13, 2017. Reuters

The European Union has announced that the Duterte government has turned down their 250 million euro worth of funding assistance to Philippines. The Philippines government informed them that it will no longer accept grants from the European body. This development is likely to leave many peace-related programs, particularly in the Southern Philippines, hanging.

The Philippine government's decision came days after China assured billion-dollar worth of pledges to the South Asian country. The Asian giant promised to fund the Filipino government's priority projects, including transport and infrastructure programs.

European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, Franz Jessen, was quoted by Reuters saying that most of the funding assistance was intended for programs of the government's peace process with revolutionary organisations in the Southern Philippines.

Duterte and the European Union have been at loggerheads with each other since the officials of the political and economic union criticised the Filipino leader's policy on war against drugs.

At least 4,000 suspected drug users and peddlers have reportedly been killed since Duterte assumed the office in 2016. However, US, EU and other critics of the president blamed him for allowing extra-judicial killings practice in the Philippines.

The European Union has partnered with the Konrad Adenauer Stifftung (KAS) and Institute for Autonomy and Governance (IAG) to provide capacity building programs for civil society organisations in the Southern Philippines as a mechanism to strengthen the role of good governance in preparation for Bangsamoro government.

Aside from capacity building programs, the EU is also involved in improving justice service delivery, providing human rights training, feasibility study assistance and other workshops on good governance.

Meanwhile, Duterte also has been criticizing the UN for interfering in the domestic affairs of Philippines. He announced that in his administration he want his country to be independent of foreign powers and exercise full sovereignty.

He also called to end the ongoing US-Philippine military exercise that started in 2002 dubbed as Balikatan (which means shoulder to shoulder in English).