Duterte thanks Xi Jinping for COVID-19 vaccine; hopes to repay him
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his gratitude anew to Chinese President Xi Jinping as he hoped that he could return the favor after Beijing donated 600,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Sinovac Biotech.
"I'd like to thank the President Xi Jinping. You know, I do not want to grab the credit. The credit is the Filipino people, inspired us to crank our grey matter between the ears how really can we master a good plan," he said in his pre-recorded televised message on Monday night.
He recalled that he talked to Xi over the phone before to ask help for the vaccine.
"'Mr. President, my country does not have the technology. We do not have the know-how. I hope that you will not forget us if things go afoul'," Duterte said of what he told Xi.
COVID-19 allegedly originated in Wuhan, China until it spread all over the world, killing millions of people.
"President Xi Jinping is listening now. So, President, from the bottom of my heart and with immense gratitude, I thank you, the Chinese people and government, for being so generous," Duterte said.
"Maybe someday I can repay you if I would still have enough time in this planet," he added.
When he witnessed the arrival of the 600,00 doses of Sinovac vaccine last Sunday, Duterte said Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian whispered something to him.
"He said something to me that is very encouraging and I said thank you. You know what is that but I would not want to preempt. I want the benefactor to announce that," he said.
Despite the territorial row between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, Duterte has decided to take a friendly stance with China. Celerina Monte/DMS