No ‘strings attached’ in PH vaccine talks – DFA official
MANILA, Philippines — A Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) official told senators Friday there were no “strings attached” in the government’s vaccine supply transactions with China and other countries.
This assurance came after Senator Risa Hontiveros followed up on her question earlier in the hearing about preserving the country’s national interest in negotiations for the procurement of vaccines.
“Allow me to convey the assurances that our transactions on vaccine supply with our global partners at the bilateral and global levels do not have strings attached or bearing any quid pro quo of any sovereign territorial consideration,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eric Tamayo said during the Senate hearing on the government’s vaccination plan.
“We can assure that in the particular case of the donation from China, at no time did the China side even hint at tying the vaccine donation to any consideration,” he added.
China earlier pledged to donate 500,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to the Philippines.
“Vaccine diplomacy would at best be an expression of goodwill, and solidarity to the Philippines during this time of pandemic,” Tamayo went on.
“It may be noted that the COVAX facility itself is some form of a donation mechanism to benefit lower and middle-income countries,” he added.
The COVAX facility is a platform that aims to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for people in all countries.
The Philippines is currently in talks with different vaccine makers from around the world.
“I’ve been working also with the diplomatic corps and asking for help because there are many countries who are buying more than six times or seven times their population and here comes the other country that they don’t have even ten percent of their own but they are willing to help us,” vaccine czar Secretary Carlito Galvez said earlier in the hearing.
Galvez also earlier assured that the Philippines will not “compromise its stake” in the West Philippines Sea over the procurement of anti-Covid shots from China.
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