President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on April 25, 2019. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday said the country had secured a commitment from China for Covid-19 vaccines from President Xi Jinping himself.

In a televised briefing, Duterte said the country was assured of vaccine supply “long before” the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

“Long before na pumutok ‘to tumawag na ako kay President Xi Jinping. Tapos sabi ko wala kaming resources, we do not know how to make it. Please do not forget the Philippines,” Duterte said.

“I was assured as early as pag-umpisa nito, this President Xi Jinping, na hindi kita kakalimutan. I will not forget your country. So, hindi kita kakalimutan. Sabi niya, ‘Do not worry,'” he added.

Duterte touted China’s Sinovac vaccines anew, which he claimed caused zero deaths in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

China has pledged 25 million doses of Sinovac vaccines to be delivered to the country monthly until December this year.

The first batch of 50,000 doses are expected to arrive in February.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque earlier said the Chinese vaccines were offered at a “BFF” price to the Philippines and decried claims that Sinovac vaccines were the most expensive among candidates.

According to data from Senate Committee on Finance Chair Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara’s office, two doses of Sinovac vaccines cost about P3,630. But according to Roque, the government would only disclose the prices of Sinovac vaccines once a supply agreement was reached, but hinted that a dose costs “more or less P650 to P675.” John Ezekiel J. Hirro