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'Halt in EU aid not a setback for Marawi rehabilitation'

In this Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Philippine troops return to their deployment after attending the ceremony where President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi city in southern Philippines after almost five months of the siege by pro-Islamic State group militants. Gunfire rang out sporadically and explosions thudded as Philippine soldiers fought Tuesday to gain control of the last pocket of Marawi controlled by Islamic militants as President Duterte declared the southern city liberated from "terrorist influence." AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines —The decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to turn down donations and grants from the European Union for the rehabilitation of Marawi City will not a be a setback, a government official said Monday.

Office of Civil Defense Secretary Toby Purisima said that the Philippine government has been receiving pledges of support from other sectors.

"There are other possible donors and, in fact, the finance and resource management subcommittee is meeting as we speak in the Department of Finance to discuss the options that we have in terms of donations and in terms of accepting grants," Purisima said in a press briefing.

Purisima added that the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are assisting the Philippines regarding the rebuilding of war-torn Marawi.

"We’ve been receiving support from many other sectors and, therefore, we will be open to evaluating all their pledges and all their support that they plan to give," Purisima said.

RELATED: How other countries helped regain Marawi

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Last July, the European Commission provided  €850,000 or P49 million in humanitarian aid funding to provide emergency assistance to civilians affected by the conflict in Marawi.

In an interview with radio dzMM last Sunday, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that the Philippines will no longer accept aid from the EU.

Echoing Duterte's pronouncements, Andanar insisted that the EU has been meddling with the internal affairs of the country.

“We won’t reject donations but we will not force them to give donations because our government can handle it," Andanar said.

The decision of Duterte not to accept assistance from the EU came after he wrongly accused the regional bloc of seeking to remove the Philippines from the United Nations.

A few weeks ago, Duterte asked European envoys to leave the country within 24 hours.

The EU delegation to the Philippines, on the other hand, had clarified that it was not trying to oust the country from the UN.

It also clarified that a delegation from the Progressive Alliance, an international group of parliamentarians and activits, was not an official EU mission.

The seven-member delegation had expressed concern over deaths an over alleged human rights violations in the government's campaign against illegal drugs.

READ: International delegation did not claim to represent EU

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