China says call to let them shoulder PHL’s COVID-19 expenses is absurd, irresponsible

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“China and the Philippine are working closely to fight the common threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. At this trying time, it is ridiculously absurd and irresponsible to make such remarks for the sole purpose of catching eyeballs and for selfish political gains,” the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said in a statement April 22.

This is after Senator Risa Hontiveros demanded that the Chinese government should shoulder the costs of the Philippines’ COVID-19 response, in reparation for the annual losses the country has incurred due to China’s damage of reef ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea.

“China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors across the sea. China will continue to provide our support and assistance to the best of our ability to the Philippines, and stand together with the Philippine government and people to jointly tackle the challenges and tide over the difficulties,” the Chinese embassy added.

Senator Hontiveros said “China should foot the Philippines’ COVID-19 bill. The destruction to our reefs in Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Islands is equivalent to at least PhP 33.1 billion in losses annually, on top of other economic and health costs. This money is past due and could go to government’s efforts in fighting the pandemic.”