The Duterte administration's rejection of EU support is but the latest tool deployed by the administration to evade accountability over criticisms of its campaign against drugs which has killed thousands of poor people.
It is incumbent upon new DFA Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano to convince the world that we intend to uphold the country's responsibility to the community of nations despite this development.
Sec. Cayetano should show not just the EU, but the United Nations as well that government is addressing the killings, instead of blaming the opposition or fudging his own interpretation of facts.
We also believe that the Duterte administration's pivot to Chinese loans for its build, build, build strategy carries its own risks. Chinese investments are not only laden with corruption, they will also imperil our own economy in case of a downturn in the Chinese economy.
If interference in internal Philippine affairs is the rationale behind rejecting EU aid, then what can be more interference than Chinese encroachment on the West Philippine Sea?
Akbayan believes that while overseas development aid is imperfect, the solution is to effectively engage, not reject, development partners such as the European Union.
The Duterte administration needs to learn soon that a critical element of an independent foreign policy is upholding mutual respect for both parties, not the emotional rejection of support that may have very real consequences for the lives of poor people on the ground.