Duterte not giving up sovereignty despite ‘debt of gratitude’ to China — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that he owed a great debt to China over its donation and delivery of COVID-19 vaccines does not mean that the country’s chief executive is giving up the sovereignty over the West Philippines Sea, Malacañang said Thursday.
Duterte, during his public address Wednesday night, described China as a “good friend,” with which the Philippines owned a “big debt of gratitude.”
Explaining Duterte’s remarks, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has vowed that he will not compromise the sovereignty of the Philippines and there is a limit to the “friendship” between China and the Philippines.
“Hindi po,” Roque said when asked if the President will let China do whatever it wants to the West Philippine Sea since they gave the Philippines vaccines.
“Malinaw po ang sinabi ni Presidente, may hangganan ang kaniyang pagnanais na pagkakaibigan sa Tsina. Siguro iyong pangingisda pupuwedeng mangyari pero kapag langis na ang pinag-uusapan, paninindigan na niya at hinding-hindi mawawalan ng teritoryo ang Pilipinas habang siya ay presidente,” he added.
He also said the President’s debt of gratitude remark does not only cover China but even countries who donated COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines via the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.
The Chinese government has so far donated one million doses of CoronaVac, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Chinese drugmaker Sinovac BioTech, all of which has already been delivered.
The Philippine government also procured 25 million doses of CoronaVac, 2.5 million of which was already delivered.
Meanwhile, the Philippines also received 525,600 doses of vaccines from British-Swede drug firm AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility.
The country is still expecting 33 million more vaccines from different brands from the global initiative.
China’s donation was wracked by controversy amid the latest incursions of Chinese militia ships in the disputed waters.
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.