Cussword on EU ‘out of context’

A SPOKESMAN for the President said Thursday there is no law prohibiting Communications Secretary Martin Andanar from blurting out lewd remarks against the critics of the administration.

“I don’t think there’s any law that says... should, you know—,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said, as he struggled to explain why Andanar would refer to the President’s critics in the European Union as “palaiyot,” Visayan for a person who engages in excessive sexual activity.

Abella said this was just Andanar’s “Visayan humor” at work and was aimed at relaying his message to Duterte supporters “in a more personal manner.”

Abella would not say, however, if he believed such language was acceptable for a government official.

In a radio interview, Andanar, who was still in the UK, defended his remarks, saying he was “taken out of context.”

“Of couse among friends, among DDS [Duterte diehards and supporters], you talk and exchange ideas,” he told radio dzRH in Filipino. “Most of the people there were from the Visayas, and you know our Visayan humor, right? It was on Facebook Live, so many people reacted.”

He also said his telling EU officials to just have sex rather than criticize Duterte were uttered “out of frustration.”

“Respect our sovereignty, respect our independence the same way that we respect yours, that’s all,” he said. “So—it’s also a statement out of frustration that the DDS also feel.”

Speaking to Duterte supporters in the UK, Andanar painted European officials who criticized Duterte as sex maniacs, using the Visayan term “palaiyot,” which means someone given to excessive indulgence in sexual activity, to describe lower-level EU officials who would criticize the administration.

“The noisy sex maniacs, you know, their problem is that all they can do is make noise. They can prove nothing. If you ask their prime minister or president, those who are really in charge of their country, even they support President Duterte,” he said in Filipino.

He said Duterte’s critics should just have more sex instead of criticizing the President.

EU Abassador Franz Jessen said Thursday he believed the Duterte government would accept billions of pesos in grant money for war-torn Marawi, despite its declaration that it would no longer accept aid with strings attached.

Jessen said the EU will provide the Philippines some €55 million or P3-billion assistance to help create jobs for people affected by the war, particularly in Marawi and Lanao del Sur.

“Right now, we’re discussing internally in the EU. We are talking about 55 million euros which, later on, we intend if things go well to expand to a total of around 100 million euros for Mindanao and Marawi,” Jessen said.

“It’s for Mindanao with a special focus on Marawi,” he added.

He said for the grant to reach the people of Marawi, it would have to be from government to government.

Jessen was referring to a remark by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday that foreign countries who wished to help the country could still course their grants through international organizations such as the Red Cross.

So far, Jessen said that the EU has already spent around 200 million euros in development aid in the Philippines.

“Obviously, when we support Mindanao, we want the money to go to Mindanao. So you can say it’s a condition. But that, in my view, is very normal. We don’t want that money to be spent [on] something else. It’s not a conditionality but it’s how we agree to use this amount of development grants,” he said.

“If we, in any development cooperation program either in the Philippines or other parts of the world, detect serious corruption, of course, we have a certain right to stop that particular project. You can say that’s a condition,” he added.

Jessen also confirmed that he had a cordial meeting with Cayetano and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III on Tuesday.

He said, the two department chief “are practical people,” who would “look at the principles, and look at what actually is happening, what is our development assistance all about.”

Jessen noted that the EU had been quick to respond in rolling out assistance following crisis in Marawi, including spending more than a million euros to provide potable water to those affected by the war in the city.

Topics: Secretary Martin Andanar , Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella , critics , European Union
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