Press Release
May 23, 2017


Senator Richard J. Gordon has commended the Philippine government's show of self-reliance in deciding not to accept, due to conditionalities, about 250 million Euros ($278.88 million) worth of grants from the European Union (EU).

Gordon pointed out that the decision does not mean the Philippines is cutting ties with the foreign bloc, adding that the Philippines still holds the relation with the EU in high esteem.

"It is commendable that we show self-reliance vis à vis the EU assistance. The Philippines and Europe have very strong ties - economic, historical, and cultural. It doesn't mean we are throwing Europe away. The fact that former Sen. Ed Angara was appointed as Special Envoy to EU is indicative of the high regard that the government gives to its relationship with Europe. They should respect that we're aiming for self-reliance. It's a country's way of gaining dignity," he explained.

"When we say we do not accept aid, it only means that we are moving towards self-reliance and less dependence. Thus, it is incumbent for all Filipinos to work, save, invest and prosper and join, in the future, other self-reliant countries. Self-reliance means we have a credible defense, a credible air force and a navy that can protect our territory. That's the only way we get respect from the world," Gordon stressed.

Franz Jessen, EU ambassador to the Philippines, said he was informed this week of Manila's decision to stop receiving aid from Europe, which was funding about 100 community projects across the country.

The EU has been providing support to Manila's efforts to end nearly 50 years of Muslim rebellion in a conflict that has killed more than 120,000 persons while displacing more than one million persons and stunting growth in one of the country's resource-rich regions.

Europe granted the Philippines 130 million euros in development assistance between 2007-2013. In 2015, it pledged 325 million euros over four years to finance projects in Muslim Mindanao after Manila signed a peace deal with rebels in March 2014.

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