Xi assures Duterte: PH will be ‘priority’ if China’s COVID-19 vaccine becomes available

Robie de Guzman   •   June 12, 2020   •   1212

MANILA, Philippines – Chinese President Xi Jinping has assured President Rodrigo Duterte of assistance amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic during a telephone conversation, Malacañang said on Friday.

In a statement, Malacañang said the phone call took place on Thursday night, June 11 and lasted for 38 minutes. The call came two days after the Philippines and China marked 45 years of diplomatic ties.

The Palace said that during the phone conversation, Xi promised Duterte that the Philippines would be a “priority” if China successfully develops a vaccine against COVID-19.

This was after Duterte stressed the need for cooperation in the research and development of the vaccine and “underscored the importance of making the vaccine accessible and affordable to all countries.”

“President Xi, on the other hand, assured PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) his country’s commitment to make the vaccine available for all, adding that the Philippines, as a friendly neighbor, would certainly be a priority,” the Palace said.

Malacañang also said that the two leaders discussed both countries’ progress in combating COVID-19 and their strategies to restart their respective economies.

“Both tendered their commitment to work together in fighting COVID-19 as part of international efforts to contain the spread of the virus,” it added.

The Palace also said that the two leaders likewise emphasized the friendship of two countries and the “significant increase in mutual cooperation in wide range of areas.”

China’s state run Xinhua News Agency reported that Xi and Duterte praised each other for their handling of the pandemic.

The agency also reported that Duterte supposedly promised Xi that the Philippines will always be a friend of Chinese people and will not allow the Philippines to be used or engaged in anti-China activities. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte condoles with Aquino family over death of ex-Pres. Noynoy

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has extended his condolences to the family of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, who passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 61.

“I join the entire nation in mourning the passing of former President Benigno S. Aquino III. I express my deepest sympathies to his siblings, Ballsy, Pinky, Viel, and Kris, as well as to all his loved ones, friends, and supporters, in this period of sadness,” Duterte said in a statement.

“May you take comfort in the knowledge that he is now in a better place with his Creator,” he added.

He also urged everyone to “set aside our differences” and to pay respects to the late leader.

“Let us all take this opportunity to unite in prayer and set aside our differences as we pay respects to a leader who has given his best to serve the Filipino people,” he said.

“His memory and his family’s legacy of offering their lives for the cause of democracy will forever remain etched in our hearts,” he added.

Malacañang, through Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, earlier expressed gratitude for Aquino’s service to the country and remembered his legacy as a leader.

Roque said Aquino was a “simple public servant elected by people”.

The Palace said that as a former head of state, Aquino may be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but the decision would depend on his family.

Roque also said he has no information yet on whether or not a state funeral will be held for the late president.

Palace thanks Noynoy Aquino for services, contributions to Philippines

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has expressed condolences to the family of former President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, who passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 61.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, during his regular press briefing, offered a moment of silence for Aquino.

“We commiserate and condole with the family and loved ones of former President Benigno Simeon Noynoy Aquino III as we extend our condolences over his untimely demise,” Roque said.

“We are grateful for the former president for his contribution and services to the country,” he added.

The Aquino family confirmed that the former president “died peacefully in his sleep” around 6:30 in the morning. He succumbed to renal disease secondary to diabetes.

Noynoy is the son of Philippine democracy icons, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

He served as the 15th President of the Philippines from 2010 to 2016.

The Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE) said Aquino, during his 6-year term, ushered the Philippine economy to investment-grade status through his good governance. The PSE said the country earned its first investment grade from Fitch Ratings in 2013 and gross domestic product grew at an average of over 6percent dung his tenure.

Roque said he has no information yet on whether or not a state funeral will be held for Aquino.

Palace identifies 10 areas among COVID-19 vaccination priority

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Ten areas experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases will now be among the priority in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine supply, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that aside from the NCR Plus 8, priority areas for the vaccine deployment will now include the following:

 

  • Bacolod City
  • Iloilo City
  • Cagayan De Oro City
  • Baguio CIty
  • Zamboanga City
  • Dumaguete City
  • Tuguegarao City
  • General Santos City
  • Naga City
  • Legaspi City

 

The distribution priority was previously limited to the NCR Plus 8 areas or the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Pampanga, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao.

“Kasama sa mga lugar na bibigyan ng prayoridad sa pagbabakuna liban sa NCR Plus ay ang Plus 10 na tinatawag. So mayroon po tayong NCR Plus 8, plus 10,” Roque said at a Palace briefing.

He said these areas were included in the distribution priority list due to surges in coronavirus infections, the density of the environment and their highly-urbanized status, and their contribution to the economy.

“Ang naging basehan ay mataas nilang kaso o surging cases, ang kanilang pagiging highly urbanized, at dense environment, at ang kanilang kontribusyon sa regional o national economy,” he said.

Roque did not specify how many COVID-19 shots would be allotted to the new priority areas.

The national government earlier said that more than 30 percent of the country’s available vaccine supplies have been allocated to the NCR Plus areas. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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