Duterte to ask ‘friends’ Russia, China for credit in COVID-19 vaccine purchase

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) - As countries around the world race to get a hand on the potential coronavirus vaccine, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would ask Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping if the country could purchase their vaccines by installment.

“If it is quite expensive, I will ask my friends President Putin and President Xi Jinping to give us a credit, parang utang (like a debt). But we will pay in installments,” said Duterte in a late night address on Monday.

Duterte thanked Russia and China for offering their vaccines that could potentially put an end to the ongoing pandemic.

"I would like to thank Russia, President Putin and China, President Xi Jinping for offering to provide us the vaccine. I cannot overemphasize my gratitude," he said.

Last week, Russia claimed that it already developed the “world’s first” COVID-19 vaccine with the Philippines joining its Phase 3 trial in October.

Meanwhile, China assured that the country is in the priority list once its own-produced vaccine will be cleared for sale.

Duterte said that he will not get the vaccines for free, citing that the two countries did not produce them without any cost and economies around the world are experiencing “hemorrhage.”

“Remember, this is not for free. After all, they did not develop the vaccine without great expense and of course the human effort involved,” he said. “Basta sinasabi ko magbayad tayo, hindi ito libre (I’m telling you that we will pay, these are not free).”

Duterte said before that he is expecting that a vaccine will be already available by December, but the Department of Science and Technology suggested that the potential cure against the virus might not be available until the middle of 2021.