China’s donation of 600,000 doses of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines did not come with strings attached, said President Rodrigo Duterte.
The President made the assurance after the arrival ceremony of the 600,000 doses at the Villamor Air Base 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.
President Duterte, however, said that he assured China that he will not allow the US to store its 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.
He then accused the Americans of asking for a military base, which would put the Philippines in the 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 added.
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. — DVM, GMA News