THERE have been many changes since the start of the Duterte administration 100 days ago, including new ideas, new policies, new language and many interpretations, European Union Ambassador Franz Jessen said in an open letter posted on social media.
“One hundred days passed very fast, lots of changes, new policies, new language, and many interpretations of statement and development,” Jessen said on the Facebook page of European Union delegation in the country.
“The ongoing peace process remains an area where President Duterte may have an early and very important breakthrough,” he said, as peace negotiators in Oslo, Norway announced on Saturday that there has been substantial progress in the ongoing talks.
Jessen expressed hopes that the ongoing second round of peace talks in Oslo between the Philippine government and the Communist Party-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines will reach an agreement soon.
“This week, talks continued in Norway and we all hope that an agreement will soon be reached between the different parties, so that needed peace and stability in Mindanao can be used as a basis for further developments in Mindanao and the Philippines,” he said.
Jessen said he has been refusing to comment on Duterte’s rhetoric since he assumed office because Duterte has just started and needs more time to craft government policy.
“Part of the task of an ambassador is to understand, as well as possible, changes, new ideas and views within the host country,” Jessen said. “You know that one way I try to learn is by reading literature from and about the Philippines.”
“This week I felt I had to be more hands on, so I did three things: I found a street vendor who sold balut, and bought; I ordered a barong and I started Tagalog.
“Time will show how and if eating traditional Philippines dishes, wearing traditional Philippine clothes and speaking the national language will help my understanding of life in the Philippines,” he said.
Jessen also assured the public that the EU-Philippines strong cooperation continues with the successful hosting of the first EU-Philippines Business Summit which was attended by 300 businessmen nationwide.
In an interview on Friday, Jessen said there are ongoing programs with the Philippine government, such as Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP), which aims to provide clean energy solutions for 100,000 households or 500,000 people living in remote areas.
“The financing agreement specifies that there is timeline but this will run for 3 to 4 years. It depends on how far the money is being spent and getting into the community in need,” Jessen said.
Jessen also assured that the funding will continue if the Philippines needs any development assistance.
“I think that there’s a need for development assistance in the Philippines and we work hand in hand with the government and we identified the different objectives and targets that we are setting together with different departments,” Jessen assured.
He also said that as long as the Philippines is accepting their assistance, the EU programs will continue.
“My impression is that the Philippines is still welcoming our development assistance and that there’s still a need for the support from Europe,” he added.
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