Duterte: No more grants from EU

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte gestures as he delivers his speech during the relaunching of the Malacañang Press Briefing Room (MPBR) at the New Executive Building (NEB) on October 12, 2017. ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte on Wednesday, Oct. 18, reaffirmed anew his policy for the Philippines not to accept new grants from the European Union (EU), a leading economic partner of the Philippines that has also been critical of Mr. Duterte’s drug war.

Speaking at Camp Bagong Diwa on Wednesday, Mr. Duterte said he had directed Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez not to accept any “offer” from the EU.

“They are about to make an offer. Nagtanong si Secretary Dominguez, sabi ko, ‘No, I will not accept it. Hindi na bale maghirap tayo.’ Sabi ko, ‘Sabihin ko sa mga tao, eh magtiis tayo. Eh pobre tayo eh,’” Mr. Duterte said. (Secretary Dominguez asked me, and I said, “No, I will not accept it. Never mind if we deal with hardship.” I said, “I will tell the people, let’s bear with this. We’re poor.”)

For his part, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano affirmed Mr. Duterte’s remarks.

“The whole point of this speech is that we have a problem, the problems are drugs, it’s affecting millions of Filipinos, millions of families and we have to do something about it,” Mr. Cayetano said.

He added: “But certain groups are giving wrong facts, are giving fake news, sinisiraan tayo (we’re being maligned) all over the world, so that’s why he’s decided na sa ngayon, hindi tatanggapin ang new grants from EU (that for now, we won’t accept new grants from EU).” — Rosemarie A. Zamora