Malacañang said that the Chinese government will donate half-a-million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines as the two countries reaffirmed their ties and cooperation against the pandemic.
The Office of the President (OP) revealed this after Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a 40-minute courtesy call on President Duterte in Malacañang on Saturday.
In its statement, the OP said Wang assured President Duterte of China’s commitment to support the Philippines’ efforts to combat COVID-19, a disease that originated in the Asian giant.
“He (Wang) announced that China will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines. He likewise affirmed China’s resolve to do everything to ensure that vaccines become a global good,” Malacañang said.
Duterte lauded the continued high-level engagement between the Philippines and China even amid the pandemic and stressed the importance of both sides delivering on the promises of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation, Malacañang said.
President Duterte likewise stressed that cooperation on public health must be strengthened, particularly access to safe and effective vaccines, to safeguard the health of the people and to hasten the economic recovery of both nations and their neighboring countries.
“The recovery of nations… sits on the back of stronger economies, Duterte told Wang.
“China plays a very key role in reviving our region’s economy. Let us do all we can to revive economic activities between the Philippines and China,” he added.
Malacañang said that President Duterte conveyed appreciation for China’s continuing support and cooperation in the country’s fight against COVID-19 in terms of medical equipment and supplies and sharing of experiences and expertise as well as in the repatriation of Filipino nationals.
Meanwhile, Wang declared that China will continue to support the Philippines’ recovery through enhanced economic cooperation. He likewise reiterated his country’s determination to complete pending infrastructure projects.
The Palace said that Wang underscored China’s commitment under President Xi Jinping to work closely with the Philippines to sustain the positive trajectory of the valued and special bilateral relations.
At the start of his presidency in 2016, President Duterte had expressed his desire to build stronger relations with China, even temporarily setting aside the country’s victory over the West Philippine Sea in The Hague to make this happen.