Relations between the Philippines and the European Union could be a “rocky, rollercoaster ride” following President Duterte’s recent refusal to accept a developmental aid package, said Filipino Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
The aid package included $278 million worth of grants designed to help conflict-hit areas in the southern part of the country and would have funded programs from now until 2020. Duterte declined the package, citing a need to preserve the country’s independence and minimize outside interference.
According to Cayetano, the Philippines would have accepted the package had the EU not imposed conditions related to Duterte’s now-infamous war on drugs. Cayetano says the Philippines will reconsider the EU’s offer if it removes those conditions and starts showing more support for President Duterte. “The ball actually is now in the hands of the EU,” he said.
“We always hear from them (the EU) every time they see people dead on the streets. Do they want to see dead police officers instead?” asks Cayetano.
Duterte had previously challenged the bloc to stop its assistance after it warned that the island nation risks losing tariff-free exports to Europe due to the thousands of drug suspects killed since Duterte’s election. “If you think it is high time for you to withdraw your assistance, go ahead, we will not beg for it,” he said in October.
Earlier this year, Duterte threatened to hang EU officials for opposing his efforts to re-impose the death penalty.
The EU is a top source of investment for the Philippines, having supported hundreds of community projects over the past two decades and providing more than $2 billion for a variety of programs ranging from health to human rights.
EU Ambassador Franz Jessen says that despite Duterte’s attitude, EU work in the Philippines will continue because “the need is there.”
Editor’s note: The EU is screwing up their own continent badly enough, they should not be telling other countries what to do. Duterte is cleaning up his country, he has the support of the people. So what if he is not nice to criminals?