Philippines pledges $100,000 to Asean response fund vs Covid-19 | Global News
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Philippines pledges $100,000 to Asean response fund vs Covid-19

/ 06:14 PM January 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has promised to donate $100,000 (approximately P4.8 million) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Covid-19 response fund, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. announced Friday.

In a tweet, Locsin said the money was sourced from the foreign travel funds of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

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The foreign affairs secretary announced the country’s contribution to the Asean pandemic response fund during the regional bloc’s foreign ministers’ retreat on Thursday.

It was the first meeting of Asean foreign ministers for 2021.

“I wish to express my gratitude to [Budget] Sec. [Wendel] Avisado for realigning DFA funds for this and the depleted Passport Revolving Fund,” Locsin’s tweet further read.

This comes after the DFA chief disclosed earlier this week that the agency’s passport revolving fund has been depleted and he would be cutting off foreign travels to replenish it.

Pledge for COVAX

On Thursday, Locsin also announced that he pledged $100,000 to the COVAX facility.

“This is money better spent than on travels, now superfluous with virtual meetings more effective than face to face because no one wings it; everyone prepares beforehand,” he tweeted.

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The application of the Philippines to participate in the vaccine alliance COVAX facility was recently approved.

The country is expected to receive up to 40 million free Covid-19 vaccines from COVAX, which is a platform that aims to ensure rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for people in all countries.

Maintain momentum in COVID-19 response

During the Asean foreign ministers’ meeting, Locsin called on members of the regional bloc to “build back better, healthier, and more prosperous societies” in 2021.

“We must maintain the momentum of our engagements in 2020 into 2021, particularly in our efforts to respond to the challenges of COVID-19,” the country’s top diplomat said.

He also recognized the contribution of Asean’s external partners in its pandemic response and recovery.

He told his fellow ministers that the Philippines is now on the third phase of its COVID-19 action, involving a strategy that combines response and recovery through a gradual opening of the economy with the least risk to public health.

(US$ 1 = Php 48.08 as of January 22, 2021)

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TAGS: ASEAN, Coronavirus, coronavirus response, COVID-19, Health, nCoV, pandemic, response fund, SARS-CoV-2, Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr, virus
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