Palace cites PH’s ‘independent foreign policy’ for China’s COVID-19 vaccine pledge
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Thursday thanked China for its assurance to prioritize the Philippines once it successfully develops a vaccine against COVID-19, saying that Beijing’s act is a fruit of the Duterte administration’s independent foreign policy.
According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, the government is also expecting its other “friends” from around the world to give the Philippines preferential treatment once their respective COVID-19 vaccine is available.
“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa gobyerno ng Tsina dahil sa isinapubliko po nila ‘yung kanilang posisyon na bilang malapit na kaibigan nila, ang Pilipinas po ay makikinabang doon sa vaccine na madedevelop nila,” Roque said in a televised press briefing.
[We are grateful to the Chinese government for publicizing their position that as their close friend, the Philippines will benefit from the COVID-19 vaccine they will develop.]
“Salamat po at tayo naman po ay nakikipagkaibigan sa lahat at asahan na po natin na ‘yung iba nating kaibigan sa Amerika, sa Europa at iba pang bahagi ng daigdig ay ise-share din po nila sa atin ang kanilang mga vaccine kung meron na po sila. ‘Yan po ay fruits of an independent foreign policy where we are friends to all and enemies to no one,” he added.
[Thank you and we are making friends with everyone and we hope that our other friends in America, Europe, and other parts of the world will also share their vaccines with us once they have one. It’s the fruits of an independent foreign policy where we are friends to all and enemies to no one.]
Beijing gave its assurance after President Rodrigo Duterte, during his fifth State of the Nation Address on Monday, bared that he asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to prioritize the Philippines once China develops a coronavirus vaccine.
“The Philippines is a friendly close neighbor and we will give priority to its needs once we succeed in developing a vaccine,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
Aside from China, the Philippines has also reached out to various COVID-19 vaccine developers from the United States, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom for possible purchase once their respective vaccine becomes available.
Duterte has repeatedly vowed to source out funds to provide Filipinos with COVID-19 vaccines, even saying that he would sell government properties if necessary.
To date, over 16.9 million people worldwide have been infected with SARS-CoV-2—the new coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19—since it was first detected in Hubei, China late last year.
In the Philippines, the COVID-19 caseload already breached the 85,000-mark on July 29.
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