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Maling mali! Pernia hopes ‘sensitive’ Duterte will take back rejection of EU aid

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Socioeconomic planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia has frowned upon the Duterte administration’s move to stop accepting aid from the European Union (EU) so it will not meddle in the country’s affairs.

“On face value, it appears to be not a good move,” Pernia said at a press briefing Thursday (May 18).

The Cabinet official cautioned against treating the rejection of assistance from the EU as policy even if it has been confirmed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“I would not take it as a policy. I think it is more a reaction to the criticisms,” he said.

“He’s (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) very sensitive and he usually takes it back later on,” Pernia added.

Medialdea said the decision to stop accepting development aid from the EU– worth about $278 million or 50 million Euros– was aimed at asserting Philippine independence.

“Yes. To enable them not to interfere w[ith] our internal affairs. We’re supposed to be an independent nation,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has cursed and criticized the EU several times over its concern regarding the administration’s war on drugs, saying it should not try to impose its values on the Philippines.

Last year, the President said the country can survive without aid from EU and the United States because it can seek help from China.

Aside from criticizing Duterte’s drug war, the administration may have been unhappy with the EU Parliament’s adoption of a resolution calling for the freedom of Senator Leila de Lima, one of the President’s staunchest critics.