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European Union’s focus in the Philippines are renewable energy and Mindanao

EU Director-General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi addressing questions from Philippine media practitioners Friday afternoon. (Melo M. Acuna / Bicol Times)

MANILA, March 2, 2018–The European Union will continue to be a partner of the Philippines as the Philippine Senate ratified the Framework Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation between the Philippines and the European Union last January 21,2018.

European Union Director-General for International Cooperation and Development Stefano Manservisi said in a press briefing at the EU Mission office in Makati City that the European Union will make its presence felt in promoting renewable energy and bringing development to the country’s southern island of Mindanao.

He described his meetings with former Senate President and now Special Envoy to the European Union Edgardo J. Angara, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia as “very formative, friendly and clear.”

Mr. Manservisi said they discussed how the recently-ratified Partnership and Cooperation Agreement would be enforced as well as the relevance of what the the European Union is doing in the Philippines.

He said nobody among the country’s top officials brought forward the issue of Human Rights. He added they discussed about mutual interests in the region and the common interests in pursuing cooperation.

Mr. Manservisi said from 2014 to 2020, the European Union has committed € 325 million in development projects and investments with special emphasis on renewable energy and other poverty-alleviating undertakings in Mindanao.

“We support the peace process, we support efforts to uplift the ordinary lives of the people through job creation and we work according to the Philippine government’s priorities,” Manservisi added.

He explained the European Union’s development assistance has no “unilateral conditions” and would always be based to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

“When each side has a problem, we have a mechanism to discuss these concerns,” he explained.

Manservisi said the amount of € 6.1 million aid was scapped because there was no clear agreement how the said amount would be spent. The agreement on the aid was supposed to have been signed last December but it was returned unsigned by Philippine officials.

It was earlier reported the Philippine government rejected the assistance due to the European Union’s emphasis on human rights.

The agreement on renewable energy is being finalized and would be signed by the Philippines and the European Union in the near future.

Speaking of Mindanao, Manservisi said they would pursue job creation, support dialogue with communities, provide school, water and other social services.

He explained while it may take sometime for people from the recent armed conflict in Marawi City to return to normal lives, the European Union would at least help find and provide opportunities for decent lives. (Melo M. Acuna / Bicol Times)

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