What a tradeoff! Lagman slams Duterte for rejecting EU aid but accepting loans from China

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman has criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for rejecting close to $300 million worth of grants from the European Union but welcoming China’s offer of loans.

In a statement, Lagman took Duterte to task for his “skewed double standard.”

“While he rejects assistance from the European Union because of alleged conditions related to his bloody campaign against drugs, he accepts Chinese pledges of aid investments despite the overriding condition that the Philippines must not enforce against China the UN-supportd arbitral decision of the United Nations,” he said.

Malacañang said it has approved the Department of Finance’s recommendation to shun a grant from EU worth $280 million since it will require a review of the country’s adherence to the rule of law.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the government reserves the right to decline aid from foreigners in the country’s interest.

Duterte, however, has also said that he will not bring up the arbitral ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration on the South China Sea with Beijing until such time he deems appropriate.

The President previously lauded China for its generosity in extending multimillion-dollar loans to the Philippines, as well as accepting Philippine exports.

While the Palace insists the country can survive without aid from EU, Lagman clarified that getting help from the bloc isn’t a form of begging.

“Accepting EU’s grants is not mendicancy because the grants are being offered without the Philippines begging for them,” he said.