By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: The Independent

To show a debt of gratitude, Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte wants to personally welcome the delivery of coronavirus vaccines that are donated by the Chinese government.

The Chinese pharmaceutical firm Sinovac has vowed that some 600,000 doses of its developed vaccines will arrive in the country “sooner.” This pronouncement came after the Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for the vaccines. However, FDA said it is not recommended for healthcare workers and the elderly.

“Unang una po, sabi ni Presidente, gusto niyang salubungin yung pagdating ng Sinovac. Alam mo, Pilipino tayo, tumatanaw tayo ng utang ng loob,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in an online briefing.

“Sa ating panahon ng pangangailangan, e talaga naman yung kaibigan nating Tsina ang nagpadala ng unang bakuna sa atin. So hindi mo matatanggal sa Pilipino na tumanaw ng utang ng loob.”

“Ang akin lang, kailangan magpasalamat. Nakita niyo naman ginawa naman natin lahat para makuha yung gusto ng nakakarami, lalo na yung gustong brand ng oposisyon,” Roque added, seemingly pertaining to western vaccine brands.

Furthermore, Roque noted it will not affect the issues concerning the country’s relations with China.

“Nagpapasalamat lang po ang Presidente dahil sa panahon ng pagsubok, Tsina na naman ang nagdeliver…Hindi po masama na ipakita ang ating utang na loob. Ang Pilipino po, sabihin niyo na ang gusto niyong sabihin, hinding hindi po tayo inggrato,” Roque said.

Vaccine doses from Pfizer-BioNTech were supposed to arrive first in the Philippines by mid-February through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX Facility but its delivery was stalled due to the required indemnification agreement.

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