Malacañang thanked China on Thursday for making the Philippines one of the priority recipients of its COVID-19 vaccine.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China will first consider the Philippines’ request for access to successful COVID-19 vaccines.
Roque thanked China for publicly announcing that they will prioritize the Philippines.
“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 made-develop nila (We thank the government of China for publicly stating their position that as our close friend, the Philippines will benefit from the vaccine they are developing),” he said.
Roque said that Filipinos can expect the same treatment from other countries developing COVID-19 vaccines like the US, United Kingdom, and Russia because of President Duterte’s independent foreign policy.
“‘Yan po ay (These are) fruits of an independent foreign policy where we are friends to all and enemies to no one,” he said.
Wang said that since the COVID-19 first broke out, the Philippines and China have been helping and supporting each other in the efforts to fight the pandemic.
He said this is proof that the bilateral relations of the two countries have reached new heights.
“We are willing to give priority to the vaccine request made by China’s friendly neighbor the Philippines,” Wang said.
In his fifth State-of-the-Nation Address Monday, President Duterte revealed that he recently asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to allow the Philippines to be one of the first countries to get their hands on a vaccine against COVID-19.
“About four days ago I made a plea to President Xi Jinping that if they have the vaccine, can they allow us to be one of the first, or if needed, if we have to buy it, that we will be granted credit so that we can normalize as fast as possible,” he said.
Xi had assured Duterte that the Philippines will be among the first countries to get a vaccine against COVID-19, a disease that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, once it is developed. The China National Pharmaceutical Group (SinoPharm) said last week that a vaccine could be ready by the end of 2020.