Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has drawn a line in the sand with the European Union that will stop them from carrying out their alleged interference in his controversial administration at the potential cost of 250 million euros ($279 million) in aid funds for the struggling country.
According to the EU delegation in Manila, the Philippine government informally notified them about its decision on Wednesday but has yet to submit formal written notice. When asked by the Associated Press to explain the move, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea claimed that it was meant â€śto discourage them from interfering with our internal affairs.â€ť
The EU initially threatened Duterte over his extrajudicial killings of thousands of suspected drug dealers and users as part of his sensational war on drugs, insisting that the bloc would halt tariff-free exports from the Philippines to Europe. In response, Duterte essentially dared the EU to pull out of its funding agreements.
â€śThe President has approved the recommendation of the Department of Finance not to accept grants from the EU that may allow it to interfere with internal policies of the Philippines,â€ť presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Thursday.
According to ranking officials, Duterteâ€™s decision could cost the Philippines 100 million euros this year alone and 250 million euros in total, including a 35 million euro grant geared toward ushering peace between the Philippine government and a faction of Muslim rebels in the southern region of the country.
This is not the first time that Duterte has butt heads with the EU over his brash style of governance. Back in March, the president went on an expletive-laden rampage when the EU questioned his decision to reinstate the death penalty, threatening to hang those EU officials who interfered with his plans.