A lawmaker at the House of Representatives criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his “skewed double standard” in accepting foreign aid and assistance.
“While he rejects assistance from the European Union (EU) because of alleged conditions related to his bloody campaign against drugs, he accepts Chinese pledges of aid and investments despite the overriding condition that the Philippines must not enforce against China the UN-supported arbitral decision of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal,” said .Representative Edcel Lagman of Albay in a statement on Friday, May 19.
The international body ruled that the resource-rich areas in the West Philippine Sea, including Benham Rise, Spratlys and Panatag Shoal, among others, were part of Philippine territory and Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
Lagman issued the statement in reaction to Malacañang’s announcement that it was willing to forego about 250 million euros (P13.89 billion) worth of grants from the European Union (EU), saying the funds could be used as leverage to meddle in the internal affairs of the Philippines.
“Accepting EU’s grants is not mendicancy because the grants are being offered without the Philippines begging for them,” Lagman said.
EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen clarified that EU’s serious concern on the ongoing extrajudicial killings was not a conditionality of the grant which it had committed to release in amounting up to 2020.
Lagman noted that while EU grants were historically delivered and implemented mostly in strife-torn Mindanao, the Chinese assistance was merely a contingency fund.
He said the “worldwide concern” about the killing of drug suspects was only being echoed by the European Union in the same way that 45 out of 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council have called for an end to the extrajudicial killings and an investigation of human rights violations.