By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Presidential Communications

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said the donation of 600,000 doses of Sinovac’s coronavirus vaccines did not come with strings attached.

Duterte assured this when the donated doses arrived at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on Sunday afternoon.

“China never asked for anything. China has been giving us everything and never asked anything from us,” Duterte said in a press conference.

However, Duterte said he assured China he will not allow United States to store nuclear armaments in the Philippines.

“Sinabi ko na hindi ako papayag, not because it will antagonize China but it is in Philippine Constitution,” Duterte pointed out.

The Chief Executive accused U.S. of asking for military base, which would put the country in line of fire.

“Ang Amerikano, gusto nila, base. Ang direct consequence, it will start a war diyan sa Spratlys and China, ang lapit sa atin,” Duterte said.

The Duterte Administration has been widely criticized over the President’s refusal to condemn Chinese aggression against Filipino fisherfolk in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government maintained this position despite the unprecedented legal victory before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in July 2016, when the court upheld the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea and rejected China’s expansive nine-dash claim.

The same ruling also declared that the Spratly Islands, Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank were all within the Philippines' EEZ; and that the Panatag Shoal was a common fishing ground.