New PH diplomatic protest vs China won’t affect vaccine purchase — Palace

 By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer/PCOO

Malacañang said Thursday the diplomatic protest filed by the Philippines against new Chinese law authorizing coast guards to fire at foreign vessels on its claimed reefs does not have any effect on government’s coronavirus vaccine procurements.

“Wala pong epekto ‘yan [diplomatic protest] dahil ibang usapin naman ang bakuna,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

“Ang bakuna (vaccine) is actually a humanitarian act of the entire planet earth in response to a humanitarian disaster,” he added.

The latest Chinese law allows the Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

On Wednesday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. filed a protest against the law, saying it is a “verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law.

However, Malacañang welcomes the protest filing.

“This will prove that the Philippines is fully committed to the rule of law and will assert all its rights available under existing principles of international law to defend its interests,” Roque said.

“Our independent foreign policy is intended to be friends with everyone, enemies with no one, but we will protect and secure the Philippine national interest,” Roque added.

China nearly claims the exclusive economic zones of Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

In July 2016, the Philippines sealed a historic win against China before the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim, a ruling that Beijing refuses to recognize.

The Chinese government previously vowed the donation of 500,000 vaccine doses in the country.

The Philippine government secured 25 million doses from Sinovac, a Chinese pharmaceutical company with an expected batch arrival of 50,000 doses by February, 950,000 by March, and two to three million doses in succeeding months of 2021.

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