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Drilon warns of serious economic backlash after EU aid rejection

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Senator Franklin Drilon on Friday expressed serious concern over the economic backlash of the decision of the government to reject developmental aid from the European Union.

“I hope that the government has studied this thoroughly and carefully and is prepared to deal with the consequences of its decision,” he said in a statement.

Drilon said the move puts in peril the country’s inclusion in the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences

Plus (GSP+) which allows the exportation of more than 6,000 of domestic produce to the bloc at zero tariff, including the famous tuna from General Santos

The tuna industry as well as those products enjoying zero tariff stand to lose millions of pesos in case the GSP+ is terminated, the senator said.

Total trade between EU and the Philippines in 2015 reached 12.9 billion euros or roughly P704 billion, of

which 1.38 billion euros were products qualified under GSP+ scheme, Drilon stressed.

“While it is the right of any country to accept or reject any grant from another
country or institution, I do not agree that the grants offered by the EU would
give it a license to interfere in our country’s internal affairs,” he said.

“We are just being asked to adhere to our treaty obligations and they did not come
from the EU but from the treaties that we have signed and ratified,” Drilon added.

He also disputed the Malacañang’s claim that the EU was interfering in the country’s internal affairs in exchange for a P13 billion grant.

“I am saddened by the decision. The EU has been reliable trading partner and their assistance, by way of grant or aid, extended to the country through the years, has been benefitting our people particularly those in the impoverished communities in Mindanao,” he said.