The European Union (EU) has committed 3.8 million euros (P242 million) in funding for drug rehabilitation projects in the Philippines, where the government has been leading an anti-illegal drugs campaign.
Stefano Manservisi, head of the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), said the committed fund is part of the bloc’s support for the Philippine government’s “important action and program” to counter drug menace.
“We are supporting through a drug rehabilitation program, in which we are addressing how to bring back to normal life people (who) have been into these rehabilitation centers through psychological activity, teaching, education,” he said in a briefing on Friday, March 2.
The 3.8 million euros are part of the bloc’s 260-million euro total development assistance committed to the Philippines, primarily allocated for Mindanao peace process, job creation and renewable energy projects.
The EU also pledged an additional assistance worth about 170 million euros.
“What is next that needs to be committed is 170 million euros. We’re going to decide on what to do, to focus on energy and Mindanao,” Manservisi said. “We can add many millions of euros depending on the project to be implemented with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank, other multilateral lenders.”
The declaration of commitment came months after President Rodrigo Duterte rejected earlier assistance offered by the EU worth 6.1 million euros. Duterte had lashed out against the EU for “intervening” in his administration’s drug war.
“Our assistance is subject to no unilateral conditions or whatsoever in nature,” Manservisi said. “Our action is in the framework of Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA).”
The PCA provides new and enhanced legal framework that enables the Philippines and the EU to strengthen their bilateral relationship on “political, social and economic matters,” including human rights. It took effect on Thursday, March 1.
In a statement, the EU delegation described the PCA as a reflection of the longstanding partnership the bloc has with Filipinos, as well as its commitment to investing in a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with the Philippines.
Through the PCA’s ratification, the EU delegation said both parties had reaffirmed their joint commitment to the principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, the promotion of social and economic development, and to peace and security in the region.
“The PCA will also help to shape the wider relationship between the EU and the Philippines moving forward, contributing to enhanced political and economic ties through enhancing cooperation across a wide range of areas of mutual interest, including justice and security reform, migration, trade and development cooperation, regional challenges, the environment and political dialogues,” the EU delegation added.
The PCA, which was signed in 2012, was ratified by the Philippine Senate last January 22.