EDITORIAL: Lapdog Gratitude

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque is absolutely correct. Filipinos are known for their deep sense of gratitude. We put heart and soul to the saying that gratitude is the virtue that separates man from beast.

For this reason it is but proper to thank China for the 600,000 doses of vaccine donated by Sinovac, a China - based and owned pharmaceutical company. Extra care however needs to be observed so that we do not go to the extent of being practically China’s satellite.

That is why Malacañan should refrain from making unrealistic promises of repaying China. The donation is too meager in exchange for China’s illegal occupancy of the West Philippine Sea. More importantly personal indebtedness should be distinguished from official commitments.

On this regard while it may be true that Sinovac vaccine is crucial to our health, we are at the losing end of the bargain. Besides anti-Covid-19 vaccines may now be obtained elsewhere in a matter of days.

There should be a clear dividing line about the conflicting claims between China and Philippines relative to the illegal occupancy of WPS by the former, which claims it to be within their territorial jurisdiction notwithstanding the fact that it had already been clearly defined by the United Nations Arbitral Court within Philippine territory.

The strategy of China of resorting to bilateral negotiations with Philippines can never negate the ruling of the Arbitral Court.

As it is, China is using its military might and economic power in outwardly dealing with the Philippines through diplomatic means in a left handed manner in the sense that the interrelationship is not balanced.

It depicts the picture of protagonists with one fully armed with its might and wealth against another that is practically deprived of power and capacity to respond fairly. That is why President Duterte’s over solicitous pronouncement (may be someday I can repay China) is misplaced.

The vaccine donation cannot and should never be treated as compensation for Chinas’ grabbing of WPS. True, the Philippines is indebted to China because of the vaccine. But we should never act like mendicants in dealing with China.

There is that strong impression of a situation that pictures a relationship involving one prostituting the other. Just because China has donated anti-Covid-19 vaccines, are we to lay prostrate and allow China to exploit, devour and devastate our nation like prostitutes?

If that is the case, who is the pimp? Furthermore, are we to manifest lapdog gratitude to China all because of the donated Sinovac vaccine and in the process ignore national dignity with impunity?