Malacañang said Saturday that the Chinese government will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines as the two countries reaffirmed ties and cooperation against the pandemic.
The Office of the President (OP) made the statement as Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi made a 40-minute courtesy call to President Duterte in Malacañang Saturday.
In a statement, the OP said that Wang assured Duterte of China’s commitment to support the Philippines’ efforts to combat COVID-19, a disease that originated in Wuhan, China.
“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.
According to Malacañang, 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.
Duterte stressed that cooperation on public health must be strengthened, particularly access to safe and effective vaccines, to safeguard the health of the people and in order 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 Duterte thanked China for its 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 Filipinos.
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, Duterte has 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 it happen.