DAVAO CITY – President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, August 10, expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin for his willingness to supply the Philippines with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines or cooperate with local manufacturers for mass production.
In a public address, President Duterte was pleased to accept Russia’s offer and assured to pay his country’s debt of gratitude.
“Maligayang maligaya ako, ang Russia, kaibigan natin ito. Wala tayong away sa Russia, kaibigan natin. Ang ano nila is magbigay sila ng bakuna. Wala naman silang sinasabi na bayaran mo,” President Duterte said.
“Ito, tingin ko kay President [Vladimir] Putin, tulong niya sa atin, libre. Kaya ngayon, tinatanggap natin, at kung ano ang supply, mag-usap pa kami. Kung ilan ang supply, at kailangan natin may clinical ano ‘yan, clinical studies.”
“Someday we will, makabayad man kami sa utang ng loob sa inyo but I promise you that the Philippines and Russia would remain friends forever.”
The President also expressed his willingness to help Russia in its clinical trials noting he has faith in Russia’s efforts in combating COVID-19.
“Malaki ang tiwala ko — your studies in combatting COVID and I believe that the vaccine that you have produced is really good for humanity,” President Duterte added.
Igor Khovaev, Russia’s ambassador to the Philippines, said recently that his country is ready to supply COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
Russia, he said, can also invest with a Philippine partner for the mass production of the vaccine. Regulatory approval for Russia’s first potential COVID-19 vaccine is expected this month.
Countries race to develop a vaccine or cure to halt COVID-19, which has infected millions globally. Clinical trials for potential vaccines are also being done in China, the US, and the UK. PND