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Duterte to personally welcome Sinovac vaccines on Sunday —Bong Go

President Rodrigo Durterte will personally receive the 600,000 doses of Sinovac's  COVID-19 vaccine that are set to arrive on Sunday, February 28, according to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

Go, Duterte's former special assistant, said he will accompany the President during the event.

“Darating na February 28. I think 5:00 p.m. po ay tatanggapin ni Pangulong Duterte,” he said.

Go was referring to the 600,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine donated by the Chinese government to the Philippines. Of this number, 100,000 doses have been allocated to Philippine military.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has earlier said that Duterte's presence in the arrival of the vaccines is a manifestation of the country's gratitude towards China for donating the vaccines.

“Gusto po nating tumanaw ng utang na loob, kaya nais sumalubong ni Presidente. Magkakaroon po ng ceremony kapag dumating na ang donated vaccines ng People’s Republic of China,” Roque said during a Palace briefing on Wednesday.

Go, who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, said a "simple turnover" ceremony will be held.

“Matagal na natin itong inaantay. Ako, as a legislator, talagang kinukulit ko po. Naawa na ako kina Vaccine Czar Secretary [Carlito] Galvez, Jr. at [Health] Secretary [Francisco] Duque. Halos araw-araw ko silang nire-remind,” he said.

Congress has already passed a vaccine indemnification law that mandates the national government to shoulder the compensation for those who will experience adverse effects from taking a COVID-19 vaccine.

The World Health Organization has earlier said that COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers require such indemnity agreement since their vaccines are still under emergency use, meaning still under continuous development.

Duterte has yet to sign indemnity fund bill into a law as of posting Friday morning.

The Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia which is yet to start its COVID-19 mass vaccination program. —Llanesca T. Panti/KBK, GMA News