By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
“What are friends for?”
Malacañang said it was expecting China to give priority to the Philippines in case it develops a cure or a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that originated in that country.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte said the Philippines will not find it hard to acquire the cure or vaccine against COVID-19 if China will succeed in finding an answer to the pandemic.
“Inaasahan natin dahil BFF naman tayo ng China (We are ‘best friends forever’ so we are expecting that China will prioritize the Philippines,” he said.
“Kapag sila ay nagkaroon ng gamot na ganyan ay unahin naman nila tayo. Alangan namang unahin pa nila yung mga kalaban nila (If they find a cure, we hope that they think of us first. I don’t think they’ll prioritize their enemies),” he added.
BFF stands for best friends forever, a term of endearment used for selected close friends.
On Monday, President Duterte said he will lift the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) if the Japan-made Avigan, an anti-flu drug believed to be effective against COVID-19, will be available.
“I placed the condition there na kung nandiyan na yung antibody, available na sa market dito (if the antibody is already available here), and they are being sold in quantity, in (big) numbers, then maybe I am inclined to, maybe, at that time, lift the lockdown,” he said.
“Kung meron na ‘yan tapos makita ko na ginagamit ng tao, ili-lift ko. Tutal kung magkasakit kayo, may antibodies naman tayo mabili. Ngayon kung wala ka mabili, problema mo na ‘yan kasi tapos na yung lockdown (If it is already available and I see that people are using it. I will lift it. After all, there would already be antibodies you can buy in case you get sick. Now if you can’t buy one that’s your problem because I would have already lifted the lockdown by then),” he added.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, President Duterte and Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo had an exchange regarding Avigan, the brand name for anti-flu drug favipiravir that is among the drugs being tested worldwide as a treatment for COVID-19.
In his press briefing, Roque said the Philippines supports all initiatives to look for a cure to the dreaded disease.
“Kung meron mang mga bansa na gumagawa rin niyan, siyempre po susuportahan natin ‘yan (If there are countries doing that, obviously we will support it),” he said.
“Inaasahan natin na kapag ‘yan naman po ay napatunayang gumagana, lahat po ng mamamayan sa daigdig na ito ay makikinabang (We expect that once it is proven to be effective, everyone in this world will benefit),” he added.