PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte expressed confidence that the “strengthened” health cooperation between the Philippines and China would hasten the two nations’ economic recovery.
Duterte made the remarks during his meeting with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Saturday afternoon.
“The recovery of nations… sits on the back of stronger economies. 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,” Duterte, as quoted by Malacañang, said.
In a press statement, the Palace said Duterte stressed the need to further bolster the two countries’ cooperation on public health, particularly on access to “safe and effective” vaccines against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to safeguard the health of the Filipino and Chinese nationals.
Wang, Malacañang said, told Duterte that China’s resolve is to support the Philippines’ efforts to combat COVID-19.
“State Councilor Wang also declared that China will continue to support the Philippines’ recovery through enhanced economic cooperation,” the Palace said.
Free 500K doses of vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines from Chinese developer Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is set to arrive in the Philippines on February 20.
Wang announced during his meeting with Duterte that China will donate 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines, the Palace said.
“He (Wang) likewise affirmed China’s resolve to do everything to ensure that vaccines become a global good,” it said.
Malacañang said Duterte extended his appreciation for China’s continuing support and cooperation in the Philippines’ fight against COVID-19 in terms of medical equipment and supplies, sharing of experiences and expertise, as well as the repatriation of Filipino nationals.
“President Duterte lauded the continued high-level engagement between the Philippines and China even amid the ongoing global pandemic and stressed the importance of both sides delivering on the promises of the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation,” the Palace said.
Supporting ‘Build, Build, Build’
Apart from the continued cooperation between Manila and Beijing to fight COVID-19, Duterte and Wang also touched on the Philippine government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, Malacañang said.
“Responding positively to President Duterte’s call to prioritize infrastructure and reaffirmation of the importance of China’s support for the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, the State Councilor and Foreign Minister reiterated China’s determination to complete pending infrastructure projects,” it said.
The commitment was made after Duterte announced the finalization of the Samal Island-Davao City Connector Project and the Subic-Clark Railway Project agreements this week.
The Palace said Wang also emphasized 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.”
Wang’s courtesy call on Duterte lasted for 40 minutes, Malacañang said.
Joining Duterte during the meeting were Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Chief of Presidential Protocol Undersecretary Robert Borje, Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven, and Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Nathaniel Imperial.
The China delegation includes Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian, Ministry of Commerce Vice Minister Qian Keming, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister Wu Jianghao, and China International Development Cooperation Agency vice chairman Deng Boqing. Philippine News Agency