Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has chided President Rodrigo Duterte for attempting to condition the Filipino public to pin their hopes of survival on a still non-existent vaccine against COVID-19 that will be China-made without regard for its quality, efficacy or costs.
De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said any effort by Duterte to help China monopolize the production and supply of such vaccine is “tantamount to a death sentence” for the entire nation.
“Duterte is doing his job excellently. As China’s lackey, that is. [H]inarang na nya agad ang iba pang posibleng suppliers ng gamot katulad ng Japan, US, o iba pang bansa sa Europa. Since day 1, we have heard nothing but ‘unless there is a vaccine’ plus China,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 809.
“Tama ang maghangad ng lunas sa isang nakamamatay na sakit, but for one to even hint on helping China monopolize the production and supply is tantamount to a death sentence for all of us. Mula teritoryo, pati kaluluwa, binenta na ni Duterte sa kanyang BFF! Is he also offering us as guinea pigs to the vaccine trials?” she asked.
Recently, Duterte expressed confidence that China, where the COVID-19 pandemic originated, will be the first country to be able to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 which he claimed may be available by September.
De Lima said other countries were able to fight the virus and flatten the curve without solely relying on other countries because their leaders prioritize the welfare of their people over self interests.
“Umasa ba ang Vietnam at Taiwan sa kumpas ng ibang bansa? Hindi. Inuna at pinangibabaw nila ang kapakanan ng kanilang mamamayan. They’re not lapdogs of any foreign master, that’s why,” she said.
“Pilit tayong pinapaasa sa isang relasyong hindi naman natin maasahan. It is a one-sided and abusive relationship that is putting our country in a grossly disadvantageous position,” she added.
While the world is busy fighting COVID-10, the lady Senator from Bicol said China continues with its malevolent plans that have dangerous global implications.
“[C]hina is intensifying its claim on the West Philippine Sea; ensnaring countries into debt traps with their national assets as collaterals; and providing international organizations like the WHO with millions of dollars as support in its attempt to “buy” influence in the world public health market,” she said.
“And we are right here, smack in the middle of all these Chinese slyness and maneuverings, no thanks to Duterte who once promised to defend our sovereignty with his life,” she added.
Duterte, who has always shown fondness to China, has since failed to stand against Chinese incursion in the WPS, and has indirectly given up the Philippines’ entire EEZ in the WPS./Stacy Ang