Duterte, Putin talk about vaccines, fight vs COVID-19 in teleconference
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte and Russian President Vladimir Putin had an “open and productive” discussion about COVID-19 vaccines and the fight against the pandemic on Tuesday evening, Malacañang said.
According to a Palace statement, the two leaders “reaffirmed their shared commitment to further enhance cooperation” and vowed to cooperate in the battle against COVID-19 during their teleconference.
The Palace also said that Duterte and Putin discussed the global and regional vaccine landscape, both agreeing that vaccines, including Russia’s Sputnik V, must be distributed to as many countries as possible.
“President Duterte and President Putin underscored the need for continuing and strengthened collaboration to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Malacañang said.
The Philippine government is ordering 20 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. Vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. earlier said 500,000 doses of the said jab are set to arrive in the Philippines this month.
The two leaders also discussed the “steady progress” in defense and security cooperation between Manila and Moscow, citing regular exchanges among their respective defense, intelligence, and military agencies, the Palace said.
Putin also highlighted the “positive trajectory” of Russia-Philippines relations, pointing out the many opportunities for greater cooperation in the fields of trade and investments, agriculture, and energy development.
Putin likewise welcomed Duterte’s invitation for him to visit the Philippines “as soon as circumstances allow,” according to the Palace.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Duterte’s long-time-assistant-turned lawmaker, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, were present during the two leaders’ teleconference.
The Palace said the phone conversation lasted for about 30 minutes.
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