Philippine President Duterte may reverse decision to reject EU aid — Human Rights dispute

In this Sept. 27, 2016 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte scratches his head as he addresses Philippine Marines in suburban Taguig City east of Manila, Philippines. Duterte used an expletive to warn key ally Barack Obama not to lecture him on human rights and, in another impromptu speech, declared a dramatic policy change such as removing US counterterrorism forces out of his country’s volatile south. Impassioned speeches by Duterte about the United States, the European Union and the United Nations have repeatedly led his government to issue clarifications, although he had been on the job less than three months. AP/Bullit Marquez, File
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ rejection of the European Union aid is “not a policy” and President Rodrigo Duterte could “take it back,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

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“On face value, it appears to be not a good move… but I don’t think it’s not going to remain as such (in place),” Pernia said on Thursday.
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He said the government relayed its intention to reject EU aid before officials went to Geneva to explain the country’s human rights situation.
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The aid rejection, which covers the governing bloc and not what member countries may send, will result in more than P70 billion in assistance being removed, affecting mostly Mindanao development.
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The EU had been critical of the Duterte administration’s drug war, which had been criticized for alleged human rights violations.
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The 28-member bloc went as far as threatening to remove preferential treatment to Philippine exports to EU countries.
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But for Pernia, Duterte, who is known to flip-flop on his statements, may “take back” his statement soon as this could only be driven by “reaction.”
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“You know, he even appointed (former Sen. Edgardo) Angara as envoy to EU. So I think that’s his way to reach out,” he said.
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Just as Duterte could change his mind, Pernia also said investors may be able to see through the statement.
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“The shock effect tends to dissipate over time when they were able to see that the President’s statement is,” he said.
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