Yehey! I got my first jab — of Sinovac, what else?

Long live me!
Long live me!

AND I unabashedly thank President Duterte and China, and his government for the efficient distribution of the vaccines. If Duterte hadn’t reversed the witless Benigno Aquino 3rd’s hostile stance against China – and if  he had capitulated to the Yellow-led irrational anti-Chinese mob pretending to be nationalists — I probably wouldn’t get any vaccine and would be vulnerable to the most communicable and deadly virus in our lifetime. 

The 525,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine obtained through the Covax Facility*, would have been prioritized to medical personnel and other frontliners, as well as for seniors in the metropolis, which is much worst hit by Covid-19, compared to the semi-rural town I live in, where total cases have been low. China has shipped 2.5 million doses of its Sinovac to the Philippines, and commits to provide 22.5 million more this year, expanding the pool of vaccines the government can distribute.

In the meanwhile, the US and Europe, countries that usually raise a storm over human rights abuses here and elsewhere in Asia, have hoarded the vaccines, taking advantage of the fact that their manufacturers are in their territories. “Die!” they might as well have told the rest of world. To be sure, not a single dose leaks to locals, US and European embassies aren’t even providing vaccines to their citizens abroad.

President Biden’s state and defense secretaries as well as his national security agencies have been calling their counterparts here, not to give the smallest assurance that they will help us get US-made vaccines, but to goad them to fight the Chinese.

It is shameless for sinophobes here to denigrate the Chinese benefaction. “The vaccines are in exchange for giving up Julian Felipe reef,” top Sinophobe Antonio Carpio very stupidly says. And what reefs did Indonesia and Brazil, which got 20 million Sinovac vaccines, surrender to China, can he tell us?

Columnist Randy David has gone totally nuts when he wrote yesterday: “Duterte preferred a Chinese vaccine from the very beginning, not for scientific reasons, but because China had supposedly given its word that, being a friend, the Philippines would be at the top of its priority list the moment a vaccine for Covid-19 becomes available.”

Administration

What? Duterte called the head of the Food and Drug Administration, consisting of doctors with impeccable integrity and unassailable qualifications, and the health department secretary, “Order the Sinovac vaccines, President Xi is a friend.”  The Yellows have become mad in their hatred for this president.

For a once-an-academic, David tells outright lies in implying Chinese vaccines are dangerous since, “nothing much is known about it.”

He should read a bit more such a recent Associated Press (a US news agency) report: “China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged roughly half a billion doses of its vaccines to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press. With just four of China’s many vaccine makers claiming they are able to produce at least 2.6 billion doses this year, a large part of the world’s population will end up inoculated not with the fancy Western vaccines boasting headline-grabbing efficacy rates, but with China’s humble, traditionally made shots.” 

What? Not a dose from US, not even for Americans here? (Photo: rappler.com)
What? Not a dose from US, not even for Americans here? (Photo: rappler.com)

David’s advice? “Our best bet at the moment may lie in nudging the United States to share a portion of the stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines it has, and of the Pfizer and Moderna doses that could be left over.” 

Well, I did already say he’s nuts. “Nudging?” As in our ambassador there nudging some state assistant secretary in a diplomatic function, and telling him “How about giving us some vaccines, man?”

Wake up

Wake up, folks. In exchange for the billions of dollars Trump gave to the manufacturers to “warp-speed” the development of vaccines, he got them to sign contracts that effectively bans them from exporting their products, according to an investigative report by a respected US magazine. I hope David is true to his word, and refuses to be jabbed by Chinese vaccines.

I had become a paranoiac over the pandemic. It killed two of my closest friends early when it broke out last year and five more not-so-close friends. Every morning, I wake up checking if my cough is dry or not, and feeling my neck with the back of my hand to check if I have fever. With the jab, I have some confidence I’m protected even if not totally.

Getting the vaccine was such a huge relief, that I realized: Now I understand why there has been a sudden intense anti-Chinese propaganda — started March 21 — over alleged intrusion by Chinese vessels in Julian Felip reef, right after the roll-out here of Sinovac vaccines on March 1.

By being available to us and the world, when the US and the West have hoarded theirs, Chinese vaccines here in the Philippines is a game changer in perceptions about China.

Propaganda

The propaganda over “Chinese invasion of our territory” is intended to block the rise in goodwill towards China because of the vaccines. In the “recovery room” of the facility where I got my jab, an elderly woman remarked when told the vaccine she was jabbed with was from China: “Mabubuting tao naman pala ang mga Instsik, bakit sabi nina Locsin at Lorenzana na masama sila?

Don’t you wonder that why only in the past several weeks that this issue over the alleged Chinese vessels in Whitsun Reef has broken out, when US intelligence – as revealed by one of its satellite imagery firms Simularity Corp. – had known since October last year that Chinese fishing fleets were going in and out of that reef for refuge and to rest?

Indeed, our intelligence people should have known that the Chinese fishing fleet has become the world’s biggest in the past several years. One of these group of fleets consistingg of 300 vessels are based in a fishing port in Yazhou in Hainan province, which fish in the South China Sea, and therefore were very likely thos spotted at the Julian Felipe Reef taking refuge from a storm.

The Vietnamese have four huge installations at Julian Felipe Reef, as the Chinese do, and claim it is part of their territory. The  Chinese have two fortifications there. Vietnam isn’t complaining to the world that the Chinese have invaded them, as our defense and foreign affairs secretaries have done.

Never occupied

We have never occupied this reef, and with the Vietnamese and Chinese fortifying their installations there, we will never occupy it. Face reality, as the Vietnamese do.

The arbitration panel, contrary to the lies of the likes of UP professor Jay Batongbacal and Antonio Carpio, did not rule that Julian Felipe, nor any other feature in the Spratlys, is our sovereign territory, nor that China’s — and Vietnam’s — claims of sovereignty over the Spratlys are without basis. 

It did rule that the so-called “nine-dash line” has no basis in UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos). But it also did not rule on the Chinese claim that the Spratly archipelago (our Kalayaan Island Group created by Marcos in 1978), where Whitsun Reef is located, is its sovereign territory. Whitsun Reef was not even mentioned at all in the arbitration. Kaya nga may territorial dispute, idiots.

If Batongbacal and Carpio can show me that these assertions of mine are false, I’ll immediately stop writing columns.* This the global pooled procurement mechanism for Covid-19 vaccines for 190 participating economies, using an allocation framework formulated by the World Health Organization.

Email: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
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