‘Never wrong’ to admit PH owes debt of gratitude to China
MANILA, Philippines — It is “never wrong” to admit that the Philippines owes a debt of gratitude to China, President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, stressing that accepting vaccines from Beijing does not mean disregarding the country’s claims to the West Philippine Sea.
“It is never, never wrong to say that I owe you a debt of gratitude. Totoo e. Binigyan tayo, tinanggap natin ginamit natin,” Duterte said in a pre-recorded speech.
“But it does not mean na tanggapin ko yung bakuna tapos sabihin ko kalimutan ko na yung claim dyan sa West Philippine Sea,” he added.
Duterte was referring to his previous statement that Filipinos owed a debt of gratitude to China for the vaccines it donated to the country.
“There will be no compromise, alam ng China yan. Gagamitin ko pa rin [ang bakuna]. Hindi ito ang kabayaran, this is Philippine national interest,” Duterte said.
The President even recalled his conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping to ask for his help in getting COVID-19 vaccines.
“Sabi nya (Xi) ‘I will help you.’ Hindi nya sinabi kalimutan mo ang Scarborough Shoal,” Duterte said.
In June last year, Duterte and Xi had a phone conversation to discuss the two governments’ cooperation on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.