MANILA – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday assured that the Philippines’ vaccine transactions with China and other foreign partners do not have strings attached.
“Allow me to convey our assurances that our transactions on the vaccine supply with our global partners, in the bilateral and multilateral levels, do not have strings attached nor bearing any quid pro quo of any sovereign territorial consideration,” DFA Assistant Secretary Eric Gerardo Tamayo said in a Senate hearing.
Tamayo said the vaccines China would be donating to the Philippines are not tied to any consideration and are at best a sign of goodwill.
“(A)t no time did the China side even hint at tying the vaccine donation to any consideration,” he said. “Vaccine diplomacy would, at best, be an expression of goodwill and solidarity with the Philippines, especially during this time of the pandemic.”
Tamayo noted that the global collaboration for vaccine access (Covax) facility could also be considered as “some form of donation mechanism to benefit lower and middle-income countries.”
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier announced that Beijing would donate some 500,000 doses of vaccine to the Philippines.
He also assured that Beijing would render Manila its needed facilitation for the procurement of additional Chinese vaccines.
In the same hearing, National Policy Against Covid-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar, Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., underscored that Manila’s vaccine deals with China have been done separately from talks involving the territorial dispute in the South China Sea.
“We will not compromise our stake, meaning in this pandemic, we… I’m telling the public that our selection of vaccine is science-based,” Galvez said, adding that the decision on vaccine selection would be based on the recommendation of Manila’s vaccine expert panel and the Food and Drug Administration. (PNA)