EU delegation confirms PH refusing aid from EU

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) —  The European Union Delegation to the Philippines confirmed to CNN Philippines that the country will no longer accept aid from the European Union (EU).

The statement from EU-PH Delegation public affairs officer Thelma Gecolea comes after reports stating the country would turn down some 250 million euros (around ₱13.88 billion) of grants, which would have been allocated to Muslim communities.

The announcement was made after the country secured billions of dollars in grants and loans from China in the Belt and Road summit on May 14 in Beijing.

Read: China's new world order: Xi, Putin and others meet for Belt and Road Forum

In a May 17 interview, incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said President Rodrigo Duterte would refuse any aid that would impact the administration's war on drugs.

"Ang instructions ng Presidente, yung gusto tumulong nang kusa, libre sila," he said. "But yung may strings attached o kaya, 'Eto yung aid, pero eto gawin niyo,' lalo na pagdating sa campaign against drugs, napapakialaman o pinapatigil, eh 'wag tanggapin."

[Translation: The President's instructions are that if nations want to help willingly, they are free to do so. But for help with strings attached or something like, "Here's the aid, but you have to do this," especially when it comes to the meddling in or stopping the campaign against drugs, we won't accept.]

Duterte and the EU

In October 2016, Duterte challenged the United States and the EU to pull out their aid to the Philippines following their concerns over alleged extrajudicial killings in the drug war.

Read: Duterte: 'We will not beg' for U.S., EU assistance

"If you think it is high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead," he said. "We will not beg for it," Duterte said.

In April 2017, he again slammed the EU for having "no idea" about the drug problem in the Philippines and for supposedly proposing to supply drugs to treat drug dependents.

Read: Duterte: It is my responsibility to keep the country safe

"Tapos may stupid suggestion ang EU gusto kong sampalin ang mga p**** i** nila eh. Na magtayo ako ng mga clinics all over the country, ako ang mag-supply ng shabu, hindi ko na kailangan patayin, suplayan ko ng cocaine, suplayan ko ng… Pareho sa kanila. Look at Holland, they experimented with it, so what happened? It became the hotbed ang ISIS na sa Europe nandoon. Doon nag-congregrate."

[Translation: The EU gave a stupid suggestion, I want to slap the sons of b******. That I should build clinics all over the country, I should supply shabu, I shouldn't kill them (drug addicts), supply them with cocaine...just like them. Look at Holland, they experimented with it, so what happened? It became the hotbed of ISIS in Europe. They congregated there.]

However, the EU said in a March 2017 statement that it never gave such a suggestion.

"At no time has the EU Delegation suggested, discussed, proposed or considered the use of any substitution drugs when treating addiction to methamphetamine (shabu), or any other drug addiction in the Philippines."

It added it was working with the Department of Health and others to develop plans for "model pilot Recovery Clinics and Recovery Homes."

Related: Government eyes ₱3 billion for drug rehab programs

The EU said these facilities will be fully voluntary and "will serve as a step-up level of care for patients who require additional support to community support measures."

CNN Philippines Correspondent JC Gotinga contributed to this report.