MANILA, Philippines - The Palace decision to reject new aid from the European Union yesterday drew both praise and scorn from lawmakers and some groups.
Senate allies of the President lauded the move as a step in the right direction and not in any way a severance of ties with the EU.
“When we say we do not accept aid, it only means that we are trying to be self-reliant and we are no longer dependent,” Sen. Richard Gordon said.
“Self reliance means we have a credible defense –air and sea – that can protect our territory. That’s the only way we get respect from the world,” he added.
Gordon said that the move of the government does not mean parting ways with EU and that the designation of former Senate president Edgardo Angara as the President’s special envoy to the EU is “evidence of the high regard the government has for its relationship with Europe.”
“It doesn’t mean throwing Europe away. In fact, they should respect that we’re aiming for self-reliance. As this will earn Philippines self-dignity,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate committee on economic affairs, said that the loss of some P13 billion in development aid from the EU is “a price the Philippines can afford to pay in pursuit of truly independent foreign and economic policies.”
He emphasized that the decision does not mean the Philippines is cutting its economic ties with the EU.
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