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Philippines says it will reject all aid with conditions

AP  |  Manila 

The Philippines' top diplomat said today the government's new policy of rejecting aid with conditions applies to all donor countries, not just the European Union. Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano made the statement a day after officials confirmed that Manila had declined about 250 million euros (nearly USD 280 million) in grants for 2017 to 2020 because the aid "would involve review of our adherence to the rule of " President Rodrigo Duterte has lashed out at the repeatedly for raising human rights concerns over his deadly crackdown on illegal drugs.

He earlier challenged the to stop its assistance after the bloc warned that the risked losing tariff-free to due to the thousands of people killed in Duterte's drug crackdown, and moves to revive the death penalty. Asked by journalists what other donors are covered by the aid boycott, Cayetano replied, "All countries." "We are just telling them very respectfully that we believe in our independence," Cayetano said. "We know our problems better than you." Cayetano, a former senator and staunch Duterte ally who was sworn in as foreign secretary on Thursday, earlier this month defended the government's human rights record in the UN Human Rights Council's review of the Cayetano said the decision to end development assistance one of the biggest amounts for the country, particularly in supporting the peace process with Muslim rebels in the southern conveys a strong message to that the has an independent foreign policy. "We have good relations with the but it's going through a rocky period or a roller-coaster ride," he said. "We are all in this ride together." He said he will meet with the EU's envoy to Manila to discuss the issue and iron out some "miscommunication" after he returns from Russia, where he will accompany Duterte on a trip next week. The is a leading foreign investor in the Philippines, the only member of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations to enjoy duty-free under the EU's incentives for developing countries. The Philippines' duty- free to the were worth around 1.6 billion euros (USD 1.78 million) in 2016, according to delegation data.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 19 2017. 19:03 IST