Philippines unsigned deal on EU's aid offer due to
The Philippines did not sign the deal for the 6.1 million euros aid that European Union has been offering due to the "language" of the contract, particularly on "sovereignty," an official said on Thursday.
In a press briefing in India, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said there were negotiations on the language of the EU-Philippine Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) but it was not settled.
The contract lapsed unsigned in December 2017.
"I think there were still issues on the language. Until it elapsed --- the deadline was reached 'no, I think end of year. And they could not come to terms in terms of the language," he said.
"So I understand that the agreement was returned unsigned. So in effect, the EU had no choice but to return that to the budget. They returned the budget basically," Lopez added.
Asked what was the issue pertaining to the language of the contract, Lopez said, "(t)hat sorts of touch on sovereignty. That's the issue that has to be resolved."
The trade chief said he could not say if the issue on "sovereignty and interference" is big or small compared to the assistance that the Philippines could have received from EU.
But he added, "if there are still those hanging issues --- to me those are major issues. So that has to be settled."
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated the general policy of President Rodrigo Duterte, which is "we do not need aid that will interfere unduly with our sovereignty and that may result in interference in the running of domestic affairs."
He added the Philippines is not relying on aid in addressing the needs of the Filipinos.
"We are doing it as a country. We are providing for the needs of our people. We now have outstanding economic growth and this will enable us to give what our people will need," he said.
He also cited the new tax reform measure which could provide additional revenue for the government.
Duterte earlier criticized EU for allegedly interferring in the affairs of a sovereign state when it raised concern over the government's bloody war on illegal drugs where thousands have already been killed.
He has said the government would reject foreign help that would have conditions. Celerina Monte/DMS