Palace thanks EU for drug rehab aid

Malacañang on Monday thanked the European Union (EU) for its 3.8 million Euro aid to fund the drug rehabilitation centers in the country

“We thank the European Union likewise for offering 3.8 million Euros aid to fund the drug rehabilitation centers in the country,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque pointed out that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has many times mentioned that he is “amenable to accepting any aid but without any unilateral conditions.”

“He will reject, as he did in previous occasions, offer of assistance with any condition that would interfere with our domestic policies,” Roque said.

Duterte previously rejected assistance from the EU after the latter criticized the administration’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs.

The President wanted to stop accepting grants that carried conditions on human rights.

“The President will not compromise the nation’s dignity over any amount of foreign aid,” Roque said.

Roque, meanwhile, said the EU’s desire to support the Philippines’ drug rehabilitation centers was parallel with the Duterte administration’s approach to the drug problem.

“(It) runs parallel with the Duterte administration’s holistic approach to the drug problem by treating it not just a national security issue but a public health concern as well including rehabilitation and reintegration of the drug dependents,” he said.

He also described the “assistance, without conditionalities” as a “big boost” to the country’s drug rehabilitation program.

On Friday, a high-level EU official bared that the funds will be disbursed for its ongoing health program in the Philippines, which includes a component on drug rehabilitation.

Director General of the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Stefano Marservisi, said the fund’s release is expected within the month.

“The decision on our side may be done next week and then there are small technical time in order (for the funds) to arrive to the bank account of the government or to the treasury but it will be fast,” Marservisi said. PNA