The European Union (EU) is more than doubling its development assistance to the Philippines to 300 million euros (roughly Php16.36 billion) over the next four years. In a press briefing, EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the aid was mainly aimed at the local energy and justice sectors and jobs creation.
“Geographically, we are trying to focus much of these efforts in Mindanao because this is where the government prioritizes,” he said. “We are trying to have very limited number of projects but the impact is more substantial.”
Jessen stressed that the human rights situation here does not affect the amount of aid the EU is providing to the Philippines.
“What we are doing right now is that we are continuing around the track that basically laid out two years ago and we will continue to do that,” he said.
Nevertheless, the ambassador stressed that human rights issues are important for European companies coming to the Philippines.
“When they invest in a country, they want to make sure labor rights are (also) respected and they do not get caught in human rights situation they don’t want to be,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jessen said an EU high level mission is coming to the Philippines in two weeks.
“This is part of the normal diplomatic exchanges to see where we stand now and how we develop the work agenda for the coming year,” he said.
“Maybe it’s worth mentioning we had human rights dialogue with 40 countries. This is not a one-way discussion with partners but lively exchange where we have human rights issues,” he added.
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