In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte shared his recent conversation with Chinese leader President Xi Jinping, reiterating his request to prioritize the Philippines once China develops a vaccine for COVID-19.
“Let me just mention it in passing that about four days ago, I made a plea to President Xi Jinping that if they have the vaccine, can they allow us to be one of the first, or if it’s needed, if we have to buy it, that we will be granted credit so that we can normalize as fast as possible,” said Duterte.
Duterte, however, did not mention Xi’s response. A day before SONA, the Department of Health (DOH) reported that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country surpassed the 80,000th mark. The president continued his speech, praising the health professionals, urging Congress to pass the Advanced Nursing Education Act, and mentioning the creation of the National Disease Prevention Management Authority in response to future outbreaks.