EU to provide ₱240M for PH drug rehabilitation program

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European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi says there is no condition attached to the latest development aid for the Philippines.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 3) — Despite President Rodrigo Duterte's consistent criticisms against the European Union (EU), it is set to provide ₱243.13 million in aid for the Philippines' drug rehabilitation program.

"We are now about to disburse to pay €3.8 million (₱243.13 million) now, which is part of our budget support which is precisely aiming at completing this drug rehabilitation program," European Commission's Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi said in a press briefing Friday.

He said the donation, the last component of the EU development program, will be disbursed in the "next days."

"We have a program which is called drug rehabilitation program in which we are addressing how to bring back to normal life people who have been into this segment," he said.

Manservisi added there is no condition attached to the latest development aid provided to the Philippines.

He said this is part of the P10.6 billion EU is planning to donate for more development projects in the Philippines until 2020.

EU aid won't stop

Manservisi explained the Duterte administration's alleged disregard for human rights does not mean an automatic suspension of EU's aid.

"This is something on which we express concern. This is part of the political dialogue. But this does not imply an automatic conditionality that since we are concerned therefore we suspend our cooperation. This is not true," he said.

The Duterte administration announced in May it would no longer accept EU aid, as the President claimed it comes with conditions for the Philippines, particularly on human rights and the rule of law.

In December 2017,  the country formally rejected €6.1 million (₱382.45 million) in aid from the EU.

Manservisi said the rejected Trade-Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) is different from their ongoing development assistance projects in the country. He explained the TRTA was merely canceled because of lack of an implementation agreement between the EU and the Philippines.

The regional bloc's Ambassador to the Philippines, Franz Jessen, then said they will talk to Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez by March to make a "last attempt" to come to an agreement to accept the aid.

The EU allotted the Philippines a total of €320 million (₱20.2 billion) in development aid from 2014 to 2020. To date, only ₱4.8 billion has been used.

CNN Philippines' Claire Jiao contributed to this report.