President Rodrigo Duterte should have threatened China for offering more expensive but less effective COVID-19 vaccines, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Sunday.
This after the Chief Executive warned the United States that the abrogation of the Visiting Forces Agreement will push through should America failed to provide the COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
“Perhaps our citizens would be better off if he instead threatened China not to sell us more expensive yet less than ineffective if not inferior vaccines,” Pangilinan said in a text message.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said there is a “more diplomatic” approach to ask the United States’ help in securing vaccines for the Philippines.
“It is at the very least, unfortunate. I think there could be a more diplomatic or at least a better way of asking a longtime ally to help us avail of the vaccines for our people without sounding like we are blackmailing our way into it,” he said in a text message.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, on the other hand, said the President has made the warning out of “frustration” noting that some manufacturers are asking for down payment before they push through with the vaccine deal.
Nevertheless, Zubiri hoped that Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babes” Romualdez can secure the vaccines.
In a meeting with Cabinet members in Malacañang, Duterte asked 20 million doses of COVID-10 vaccines from the US to allow them to stay in the Philippines through the VFA.
“Iyong Visiting Forces Agreement, matatapos na. Ngayon kapag hindi ako pumayag aalis talaga sila. Kung hindi sila makadeliver ng maski minimum of mga 20 million (doses) of vaccines, ah they better get out,” the President said.
“No vaccine, no stay here,” he added.
To recall, President Duterte has ordered the abrogation of the VFA upon learning that the US visa of Dela Rosa, a former National Police Chief and the head architect of Duterte’s war against drugs dubbed as “Oplan Tokhang”, was canceled.
Last June, Locsin announced the suspension of VFA abrogation “in light of political and other developments in the region” for six months.
In November, Locsin announced anew that Duterte extended the suspension of the VFA cancellation by another six months.
Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph