Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque did not give the cost of 600,000 doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine that the Chinese government donated to the Philippines, saying such donation cannot be quantified.
“Hindi po puwede ma-quantify in money terms. Ang gusto lang po nila (China), mabakunahan na ang mga Pilipino [laban sa COVID-19],” Roque said during the rollout of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination program at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
“This is beyond pesos and cents. It gives Filipinos hope. It goes beyond kung magkano man per vial niyan,” he added.
Roque said China’s donation — the first legal COVID-19 vaccine in the Philippines — is about ending the COVID-19 pandemic in solidarity with other nations.
“Matatapos na po ang paghihinagpis at pagdurusa natin sa COVID-19. Unquantifiable po [ang value nitong donation],” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who personally received China’s donated vaccines on Sunday afternoon, earlier said that China never asked for anything in return of its donation.
The President, however, said he assured China that he will not allow American forces to store nuclear weapons in the Philippines because it is against the Philippine Constitution.
The Duterte administration has been widely criticized over the President’s refusal to condemn aggression of Chinese military and vessels against Filipino fisherfolk in the West Philippine Sea.
The government has maintained such position even after the Philippines scored an unprecedented legal victory before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in July 2016 after the court upheld the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea and rejected China’s expansive nine-dash claim covering the entire South China Sea.
The same ruling also declared that Spratly Islands, Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal and Recto (Reed) Bank as all within the Philippines' EEZ and that the Panatag Shoal is a common fishing ground. —KBK, GMA News