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Palace: No to ‘tied’ EU aid, yes to open trade

Trade still remains important between the Philippines and the 28-nation European Union, but aid and grants with conditions are a no, Malacañang said Friday.

We are very, very open to trade. And not so much to aid and grants with conditions,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Meaning to say, if it’s tied to and if certain conditions are tied to the aid and grant, we must respectfully decline as we do not wish to subject ourselves to monitoring or be dictated to,” he said.

That is apparently the position of the President at this stage.”

Amid the President’s threats, Abella said that the Philippines will not compromise sovereignty by receiving foreign aid.

Certainly we have a lot of needs. The nation is quite challenged in many areas,” he said.

‘‘However, the President has again and again underlined that this is not… we are not to be mendicants and that we are not to compromise the sovereignty of the nation,” he added.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella

As the Palace was turning down EU aid, the Justice Department announced $784,000 or P40 million in assistance from the United States through the Interagency Council Against Trafficking in Persons to combat online sexual exploitation of children and child labor trafficking in Metro Manila and Central Visayas.

The US embassy in Manila through the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons also provided $3.5 million or P175 million to two implementing partners, the International Justice Mission and The Salvation Army World Service Office.

“This Partnership represents a unique opportunity for the United States to partner with the government of the Philippines on an issue of the highest importance--building a better future for vulnerable Filipino children,” US Ambassador Sung Kim said.

The partnership agreement was signed in 2016 by US Chargé d’Affaires Michael Klecheski and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II.

“The TIP Office will continue to work with IACAT and other participating departments during the partnership’s four-year implementation period,” the embassy said.

The Department of Justice’s IACAT executive director prosecutor Darlene Pajarito said the country is committed with the US in fighting child trafficking in Metro Manila and Central Visayas.

“Ending the threat of child trafficking is a priority for our government and we are committed to further enhancing interagency coordination to investigate and prosecute this crime and expand comprehensive services for child trafficking victims through this partnership,” Pajarito said.

Topics: Trade , Philippines , European Union , Malacañang , Ernesto Abella
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