Duterte rejected EU aid without consulting economic team, says NEDA chief

President Rodrigo Duterte has pulled another surprise move by not even cluing in the Department of Foreign Affairs and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) on his decision to reject the European Union’s developmental aid.
NEDA chief Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia revealed on May 18 that Duterte indeed did not consult the economic team before rejecting billions of pesos of aid from the EU.

Pernia, though, said that Duterte’s statement should not be taken as a policy, noting the President’s tendency to backtrack on his statements.

“No, it’s not policy. Policy is something that is more permanent. If it’s refused this year, maybe it might not be refused next year. So, only this year,” he said.

Pernia added that if he were to decide, he would not have made Duterte’s decision because he is a “friendly person.” He also said that he will talk with the other members of Duterte’s economic team, referring to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III about whether they would recommend a retraction of the said statement from the President.

But NEDA wasn’t alone in being left clueless regarding Duterte’s move.

Rappler talked to DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar on May 18, who said that he was still trying to confirm the news. The story added that other DFA sources were not informed about Duterte’s decision regarding the EU grants.

Rappler also wrote that the EU delegation confirmed on that the Philippine government has already relayed its decision about the grants on May 17, saying, “The Philippine government has informed us that they no longer accept new EU grants.” The delegation added that they were made aware of the decision this week.
But President Spokesman Ernesto Abella said that the Department of Finance (DOF) had the task of informing the EU about the rejection of new grants since the recommendation came from the said department.

“The President has approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance not to accept grants – this is not necessarily humanitarian aid from the EU – that may allow it to interfere with the internal policies of the Philippines,” Abella said.

He also insisted that Pernia’s statement is “not entirely accurate that they were not consulted” because the DOF was entrusted to forward the President’s new policy to all the government departments in case “one of them might accept” an EU grant.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that this new move about the EU grant will “enable” the organization “not to interfere with our internal affairs.”

Duterte earlier dared the EU and the US to withdraw their assistance, adding that the Philippines “will not beg for it.”

However, former Philippine ambassador to the United Nations, Lauro Baja Jr., expressed his concern over bypassing the DFA in making this recent decision. “It’s the new normal. If DFA is unaware, then there is again a disturbing display of dysfunction in the conduct of our foreign policy,” he told Rappler.

This isn’t the first time the DFA was made unaware of something the President did.

In March, the DFA was also reported to be unaware of Duterte’s agreement with China to allow Chinese surveillance ships to go near Benham Rise.

As for the current projects being funded by the EU Delegation, its public affairs officer Thelma Gecolea, said that they will continue to fund the ongoing projects in Mindanao.

“Ang ititigil is the project that will be coursed through the Philippine government,” Gecolea told the Inquirer on May 18.

She said that many projects would not be affected by the rejection of the EU grants because they are coursed through non-government organizations.

Sources: ( , , )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Matobato Trillanes

Busted: Matobato is asking for state protection against Trillanes? It’s fake news!

Busted: Matobato compares himself to John Wick when he talked to international media? Fake news!