Duterte: ‘Cohesive’ Asean needed to combat COVID-19 pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — For President Rodrigo Duterte, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) must be “cohesive” to successfully combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Only a cohesive and responsive Asean can help us safely navigate out of this storm of crisis,” Duterte told his counterparts via teleconference during the 36th Asean Summit.
Duterte recognized that the pandemic uncovered the regional bloc’s limitations in terms of “healthcare and social protection system.”
“It has laid bare the precarious situation of our workers at home and abroad, the viability of our micro, small and medium enterprises or MSMEs, and the weaknesses of our supply chain networks,” he said.
“Asean has existing cooperation in these areas. Our task now is to recalibrate our plans so we can build back better,” he went on.
To do this, Duterte stressed the need to promote regional connectivity and sustainable supply chains, human resource development, and migrant workers’ rights.
The President also said it is imperative to “strengthen” the regional bloc’s capacity to address future infectious outbreaks through “research and capacity-building on health technology development.”
There are at least 136,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Southeast Asia with Indonesia reportedly having the most cases at over 50,000.
In the Philippines, 33,069 people have so far been found positive for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the serious respiratory ailment COVID-19.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.