Duterte seeks Chinese coronavirus vaccine, rules out US bases in Philippines

Duterte seeks Chinese coronavirus vaccine, rules out US bases in Philippines

  • ‘I made a plea to Xi Jinping. Can we be one of the first to have it … or can we buy it?’ says Duterte in State of the Nation Address
  • He rules out confronting Beijing in the South China Sea as ‘[China is] in possession of the property’

President Rodrigo Duterte told lawmakers on Monday he had asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help the Philippines get priority access to a Covid-19 vaccine, as the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic that has battered the economy.

In his annual State of the Nation Address, Duterte said: “Four days ago I made a plea to Xi Jinping. Can we be one of the first to have it … or can we buy it?”

https://youtu.be/vA4wmYWWAg8

Infections in the Philippines rose to 82,040 on Monday with 1,945 dead, while just over 26,000 people have recovered. It has the second-highest number of infections in Southeast Asia, after Indonesia.

While Duterte, who spoke for more than 90 minutes, asked banks and property companies to help small businesses, and sought their help to revitalise his 8 trillion peso (US$162.44 billion) infrastructure programme, he did not outline the government’s strategy to bring infections down or to increase contact tracing.