Tuesday, May 23, 2017

PH rejects EU grant

The Department of Finance recommended to decline the European Union's (EU) financial assistance accentuating that the Philippines is supposed to be an independent nation and the grants would involve review of the country's adherence to law.

This was confirmed and approved by President Rodrigo Duterte as a new government policy to refuse grants from EU last May 18. Presidential spokeperson Ernesto Abella explains further that the EU grants may allow it to meddle with the government's internal affairs as it has been critical on Duterte's war against drug, noting it as brutal and denounce extrajudicial killings.

PH rejects financial aid from Europian Union (EU)

However, MalacaƱang clarifies that the refusal of EU aid would be on a 'case to case' basis and that humanitarian aids may still be accepted as long as it is "unconditional".

A huge amount of the 250 million euros ($278.7 million) grant generating to about was allotted to Muslim communities in Mindanao. The Mindanao Trust Fund is a facility where various donors contribute to the socio-economic recovery of conflict-affected communities of Mindanao with EU as the main contributor.

Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao warned that the administration’s resolution of rejecting aid just because of the EU criticism is as good as inviting a full-blown war against one of the largest trade, investment and development partners of the Philippines.

Being the country's eighth biggest source of aid, analysts say that even the EU trade is at risk. Bank of the Philippine Islands Vice President and lead economist Emilio Neri Jr. said that the President's decision may entail possible trade sanctions.

Meanwhile, Metrobank research head Marc Bautista does not eye negative impact to the overall economy. Losing the grants will hardly be felt. "We don’t see any adverse impact to the economy coming from it,” he added.

Land Bank of the Philippines market economist Guian Angelo Dumalagan said 250 million euros is 0.10 percent of the Philippine economy.

“Viewed in this manner, the amount seems relatively minimal, although it masks the fact that some poor Muslim communities will be negatively affected the most,” he said.

The chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said that the Philippines can afford to mislay the P13 billion worth of grants.

The senator however expressed belief that the decision does not mean that the Philippines will sever the economic ties it has shaped with EU over the years.

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