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China Daily


Chinese and Philippine people have swiftly provided each other with assistance in their hours of need

The COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines is relatively serious. Since this March, the government has gradually increased the public health alert level, strengthening the prevention and control measures and applying policies in all aspects such as social distancing, detection and treatment capacity improvement, medical worker protection, and vulnerable groups' relief with fiscal and monetary policy adjustments. The series of measures have played an important role in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus, easing public panic and enhancing public confidence.

As a Philippine saying goes, "a broom is sturdy because its strands are tightly bound", people gain strength by standing together in the spirit of Bayanihan. In the face of the pandemic, the peoples of China and the Philippines have carried forward the fine tradition of helping each other. At the most difficult moment in China's fight against the pandemic, the Philippine government made an emergency donation of medical supplies to the Chinese side. The Philippine people from all walks of life, including the Chinese communities, have also expressed their strong support for China through donations and encouragement. In the spirit of mutual assistance, the Chinese government has given full support and assistance to the Philippine government in pandemic prevention and control.

China has shared its hard-won experience in fighting against the pandemic with the Philippine side, provide large quantity of urgently-needed medical applies assistance and sent a medical expert team to Manila. All these assistance help inspire the Filipinos' confidence in their fight against the virus.

China shared its anti-pandemic experience through diverse channels. As early as late February, China had provided its COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment plans, travel guides and traditional Chinese medicine treatment plans released by China's National Health Commission for reference. The Chinese embassy has worked with several local newspapers to publish special editions on sharing China's epidemic prevention and control experiences. The embassy also provided practical information on personal prevention to both Chinese nationals Filipinos in the Philippines through our official website and official Facebook, Twitter and WeChat account.

When the Philippines were in dire need of virus testing kits, the Chinese embassy and the China Mammoth Foundation jointly donated 2,000 testing kits to the Department of Health of the Philippines on March 16. The embassy has also donated a large number of medical supplies to the Philippine national police, immigration bureau, hospitals and other frontline departments.

On March 21, 100,000 test kits, 10,000 medical N95 masks, 100,000 surgical masks and 10,000 protective suits arrived in Manila with assistance from the Chinese government.

On May 9 and May 10, two chartered cargo planes delivered 150,000 testing kits and 18,000 medical protective suits donated by Chinese government. More aids from Chinese government are expected to arrive soon.

In addition, China's Fujian, Hainan, Shandong provinces and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and the cities of Guangzhou, Nanning and other sister cities of the Philippines, a number of Chinese enterprises and people from all walks of life have also extended a helping hand and donated a large number of urgently needed supplies to the Philippines, including millions of units of personal protective equipment.

At the request of the Philippine side, the Chinese government sent a 12-member medical expert team to assist the Philippines, who arrived in Manila on April 5, bringing 300,000 surgical masks, 30,000 medical N95 masks, 5,000 protective suits, 5,000 medical face shields and 30 non-invasive ventilators. During their 15-day-long stay, the team supported the Philippines with concrete action in fighting against the disease. They held in-depth discussions with Department of Health officials and visited the frontline medical institutions. They held video lectures to introduce pandemic prevention and control measures and personal protection knowledge, which has helped raise the public's protection awareness. Before their departure, they submitted a written report to make suggestions to the Philippine government's anti-pandemic work.

Beside providing aids, China has assisted the Philippines in purchasing nearly 10,000 cubic meters of anti-pandemic materials and a large number of anti-pandemic drugs, effectively meeting its needs for anti-pandemic materials and drugs. Since commercial flights between the two countries have been temporarily suspended, the Chinese government has swiftly issued the special permission for Philippine military planes and navy ship to pick up medical supplies procured in China. The embassy also helped charter one "friendship flight" to deliver medical supplies to the Philippines.

The Philippine government has expressed its gratitude and appreciation on many occasions for China's assistance in fighting against the pandemic.

In his televised address to the nation, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte thanked China's medical expert team for coming to the Philippines to assist the country's fight against the pandemic, and praised China as a good friend who always means what it says and which the Philippines can always count on for support.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said that in the face of the pandemic, countries around the world should join hands to fight against it instead of blaming each other. China took resolute and effective measures in the early stage of the pandemic. China's experience is worthy of the Philippines' learning.

Health Secretary Francisco T.Duque III said the Philippine side will earnestly study and promptly implement the relevant recommendations made by the Chinese medical expert team to combat the pandemic.

The pandemic is the most serious global crisis facing humanity since World War II. Facts have proved once again that human society is a community with a shared future. China will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Philippines in the areas of pandemic prevention and control, vaccine development and new technology research and development, and continue to provide support and assistance to the Philippines to the best of its ability till the day of the final victory.

The author is the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.