DFA chief says he did not accept Chinese shipowner’s apology over Recto Bank incident

Robie de Guzman   •   August 29, 2019   •   2781

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has clarified that he did not accept the apology of the owner of a Chinese fishing vessel that hit a Filipino fishing boat near the Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea in June.

In a post on Twitter, Locsin said he merely noted the apology.

“Hey morons! I merely NOTED the Chinese apology. I did not accept it. I am not a fisherman,” he wrote on Wednesday just hours after the DFA posted on its Twitter account a memorandum containing a translated portion of the apology letter addressed to Locsin.

In the said memorandum, the unnamed owner of the Chinese vessel, through a Chinese “association,” apologized for the June 9 incident wherein its fishing vessel rammed into a Filipino boat and left its crewmembers adrift at sea.

READ: Owner of Chinese vessel apologizes over Reed Bank incident

They also insisted that the allision was “an unintentional mistake.”

Malacañang has accepted the apology extended by the Chinese shipowner to the fishermen affected by the incident.

“We likewise welcome the owner’s humility to take responsibility and acknowledgment that compensation must be provided to cover the actual loss,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador said in a statement Wednesday.

But for Locsin, Panelo’s statement “merely expressed satisfaction with the Chinese apology for the incident and the offer of compensation and nothing more.”

The apology was issued on the same day Duterte flew to China for his fifth visit. Government officials earlier said Duterte may discuss with Chinese President Xi Jinping the maritime incidents reported in the contested areas in the South China Sea.

600,000 doses of China’s CoronaVac to arrive in PH on Feb. 28 — Palace

Marje Pelayo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A Palace official confirmed that the initial shipment of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine is set to arrive in the Philippines soon.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a total of 600,000 doses of CoronaVac from China’s pharmaceutical firm Sinovac Biotech will be arriving on Sunday (February 28).

The official thanked China for its donations which will be used in the initial vaccine rollout of the government. 

Concerned officials from the national government will be welcoming the arrival of the vaccines in person on Sunday.

“Inaasahan na darating ang araw ng linggo, itong araw ng linggo pong ito ang Sinovac kaya po excited na tayong lahat,” Roque said.

“Inaasahan po at at least pinaplano natin na sasalubunin po ng mga opisyal ang pagdating ng mga bakuna,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said the vaccines serve as ‘testament’ to the two countries’ diplomatic relationship.

“It is a fine tradition between China and the Philippines to help each other in trying times. A friend in need is a friend indeed. The donation of vaccines is another testament to the solidarity as well as profound friendship and partnership between our two peoples and two countries,” he said.

With the arrival of CoronaVac supplies, the government is expected to begin the roll out of COVID-19 immunization on Monday (March 1) with medical frontliners as the among the initial priorities despite advised from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the vaccine is not advisable for individuals with high exposure to COVID-19 positive cases.

First in the line to get the COVID-19 vaccine shot will be the spokesperson of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) and COVID-19 survivor, Dr. Jonas del Rosario.

“What we need is one day and we will roll out. So if it arrives on Sunday, if I’m not mistaken, we can rollout on Monday dahil excited na excited na po ang maraming kababayan natin,” Roque said.

The Palace official stressed, meanwhile, that the public should look into the positive side of vaccination regardless of which brand as long as it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as it can help address the current problems in relation to the pandemic.

But according to Dr. Garardo Legaspi, Director of UP-PGH, the initial survey among their staff revealed that about 90% of the hospital’s healthcare workers pre-registered and agreed to get a vaccine shot.

Although the survey, however, offered them Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and not the Chinese brand.

“Hindi ko masasabi kung ilan ang darating talaga. We are trying to manage the understanding of the EUA given to Sinovac kaya po siguro over the next few days, kailangan naming i-thresh out ang ibig sabihin ng fda na mas magiging very useful for our health workers to make their decision,” Legaspi explained.

The other survey, meanwhile, revealed that 75% of the staff agreed to be vaccinated regardless of brand.

“Hindi naman porket nabakunahan ng this particular vaccine na Sinovac ay walang proteksyon. Ang ibig lang sabihin, ang proteksyon niya ay hindi as high to prevent mild symptoms from occurring, which probably magiging dahilan ito para hindi makapasok ang healthcare workers sa ospital,” Legaspi noted.

“Siguro iyon ang basis ng FDA para sabihin na hindi siya ideal para sa healthcare workers dahil kahit mild symptom, hindi sila papasok pag nagkaroon sila ng mild symptom at mababawasan ang manpower sa ating ospital,” he added.

Legaspi further said that so far, all the vaccines which the FDA has granted approval — Sinovac, Pfizer and Astrazeneca— promise 100 percent protection against severe conditions related to COVID-19. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DFA logs 348 new COVID-19 cases among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   February 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) received reports confirming 348 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases among overseas Filipinos, bringing the total tally to 14,389.

This record is the highest since June 2020, surpassing 322 cases reported on January 13 this year.

Meanwhile, 88 Filipinos have recovered from the disease raising the total number of recoveries to 9,052.

To date, no new fatality was reported.

According to the DFA, the reported spike is due to an increase in cases in Europe as well as late reports owing to privacy concerns in the Middle East and Africa.

Based on the latest report, the number of countries and territories where overseas Filipinos with confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported have risen to 86.

The DFA said it shall continue to keep track of the status of overseas Filipinos, and facilitate repatriations, whenever possible.

DFA logs 25 new cases of COVID-19 among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   February 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 25 new cases of COVID-19 infection were reported among overseas Filipinos on Wednesday, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

This brings the total number of infected Filipino nationals outside the country to 14,041.

The DFA also reported 10 new recoveries among those infected, raising the recovery tally to 8,964.

However, two Filipinos recently succumbed to COVID-19, bringing the death toll among Filipinos abroad to 954.

The DFA, together with its Foreign Service Posts, assured that it remains fully committed to monitoring and assisting our nationals abroad amid the pandemic.

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