Duterte thanks Xi for Sinopharm jabs
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday expressed his thanks to Chinese President Xi Jinping for Beijing’s donation of 1 million doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Manila.
“May I request His Excellency Ambassador Huang Xilian to convey to President Xi Jinping my deepest gratitude and many, many thanks for China’s attitude to us,” Duterte said in a message aired over state media.
“That even though in these challenging times of geopolitics, the Philippines will stay neutral and remain true to what we have guaranteed China at least during my term. Daghang salamat,” he went on.
Some 739,200 doses of Sinopharm arrived in the country on Friday. The rest of the doses to fulfill the 1 million doses China promised will be delivered on Saturday.
“These initiatives are indeed a testament of the goodwill of the Chinese government and the deep, strong relations between the Philippines and China,” Duterte said.
In a recent taped address, Duterte said vaccines donated by China have “no strings attached” but at the same time mentioned that “their boats are there” in the West Philippine Sea.
China also previously donated 1 million doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to the country.
Meanwhile, the President stressed that vaccines would only work if the public takes them, hence again encouraging Filipinos to get vaccinated once it is their turn.
“As we continue to vaccinate our population, I urge you to keep observing our minimum public health standards even after you have been vaccinated. Remember to wear masks, wash hands, observe social distancing, and stay home whenever you can,” Duterte said.
“We cannot afford to be complacent, especially with the presence of the delta variant,” he went on.
The President also thanked frontliners here and abroad for their sacrifice and service to the people amid the pandemic.
“Be assured that we in government will do our best to protect and incentivize you to your hard work. We will always be by your side, ready to help in any way we can,” Duterte said.