#ThewRap: Things you need to know, May 18, 2017

Hello! Here are the stories you shouldn't miss this Thursday.

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Hello!

Hello Rappler readers,

President Rodrigo Duterte made good what he said in October 2016 when he told the European Parliament the Philippines will not beg for its assistance. Hitting European Union interference in his anti-drug war, he said back then, "If you think it's high time for you guys to withdraw your assistance, go ahead." This week the EU was told the Philippines was no longer accepting new grants.

In other economy-related news, the country's Gross Domestic Product hit a lower 6.4% in the first quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter's 6.6% growth.

Meanwhile, the poor have turned less optimistic about the quality of their life in the next months, a March 2017 survey of polling firm Social Weather Stations showed. Among socio-economic classes, they are also the least optimistic.

Be up to speed with the news. Here's what you shouldn't miss.

No more EU grants, thank you

You can keep your grants, thank you, and we'll keep our independence. This was essentially the Philippines’ message to the European Union this week when Manila said it had decided to no longer accept new EU grants. EU Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen said the Philippines’ decision will affect up to 250 million euros in EU grants. President Rodrigo Duterte had previously hit the EU for supposedly interfering in his war on drugs.

PH GDP dips 6.4% in 1st quarter

The Philippine economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter of the year – lower than the 6.8% growth registered in the same period in 2016, and the 6.6% growth of the last quarter also of 2016. The GDP growth, however, puts the Philippines ahead of other Asian nations that have released their GDP numbers for the first quarter.

Lacson tells Taguiwalo to ‘behave’

Senator Panfilo Lacson, member of the powerful Commission on Appointments, hit back at Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo for likening her delayed confirmation to "torture." Her remarks displeased Lacson who admonished her to “behave”, saying it was improper for her to try to pressure the CA via her tweets.

SWS: Poor least hopeful about next 12 months

The poor are the least optimistic about change in their quality of life in the next 12 months, polling firm Social Weather Stations said. Its First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey held from March 25 to 28 showed that compared to December 2016, Filipinos are less optimistic about having a better life and an improved economy in the next 12 months. Optimism slid across all socioeconomic classes, with the highest drop (17 percentage points from December) recorded among the poorest or Class E (29% from 46%)

Cayetano vows transformation from politician to diplomat

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano vowed to transform "from politician to diplomat" after the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday, May 17, confirmed his nomination as secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Nominated by Duterte on May 10, Cayetano is now waiting to be formally appointed by the President.

Friends again? Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Cayetano

Senator Nancy Binay on May 17 approached Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and wished him luck on his new stint as foreign affairs secretary. “Congratulations!” Binay said as she and Cayetano shook hands. Cayetano also offered his colleagues help at the foreign office, should they need it. Seeing an opening, Senator Panfilo Lacson joked in Filipino, "Grace [Poe] has a simple request. Maybe she can have her US citizenship back."

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