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Ping: Significant shift

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said yesterday that President Duterte’s decision to reject foreign aid with strings attached such as the $278.73 million in grants from the European Union for development projects in Mindanao shows a significant shift in the country’s foreign policy.

Lacson said the decision is apparently a declaration of independence from the influence of the West such as the United States and European Union.

These nations, according to Lacson, have been using grants and trade as the proverbial carrot and stick.

The decision “speaks volumes about the President’s determined position to stand up against the traditional patrons of former colonies like the Philippines,” he said.

Lacson said only time will tell if the decision is right for the country. “Only time will tell if it will do our country right or not, or it is all worth giving a chance to be tested,’’ he added.

But Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the government’s contradictory and confusing statements on its decision to reject aid from the EU are alarming.

“These expose the government’s lack of a clear foreign policy framework on how to deal with foreign aid. I strongly suggest that the government think this over carefully. The fact that it is at a loss for a coherent explanation for this unprecedented foreign policy decision should serve as basis for it to pause for deep reflection and reconsideration,’’ she added. (Mario B. Casayuran)