Banking on fame as boxer, Pacquiao asks US to expedite delivery of Moderna jabs to PH

Boxing icon and Sen. Manny Pacquiao. INQUIRER file photo / Rem Zamora

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao has asked the United States, through a letter to President Joe Biden, to expedite the delivery of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines, saying that he is banking on his popularity there to push for an earlier arrival of the jabs to the country.

Pacquiao admitted to reporters in an online interview Monday that the “slow” delivery of vaccines to the country pushed him to write a letter to Biden.

“Prangka ako magsalita, sumulat ako dahil medyo nababagalan ako [sa] pag-deliver ng vaccine dito satin, yung ibang bansa, massive na yung vaccination nila [Speaking frankly, I wrote a letter because I feel that the delivery of vaccines is slow for the Philippines, the other countries are already imposing massive vaccination drive],” the senator said.

He said the White House has yet to respond to his letter but he is considering establishing a direct line of communication with Biden for his request.

Pacquiao said he talked to Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Romualdez about his plan to write to Biden about the delivery of Moderna’s jab to the Philippines.

“Nagusap naman kami sabi ko [if] pwedeng sumulat din through you, sa US, sa White House, para idaan ko lang sa iyo, at siguro naman kilala nila ko diyan sa U.S. [as] Manny Pacquiao [We actually talked if I can send a letter to the US through you, for the White House, I can course it through you, and maybe they know me there in the U.S. as Manny Pacquiao],” he said.

“Sinusubukan natin, we do our best na baka makatulong, baka mapagbigyan tayo na mas mapaaga yung pag-deliver ng vaccine [We are trying, we do our best to help, maybe they can do us a favor of delivering us the vaccine as early as possible],” he added.

In a letter addressed to Biden dated April 10, Pacquiao asked the U.S. leader’s office to “facilitate the immediate release of the 20 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccines secured by the Philippine government in partnership with the private sector.”

The first batch of Moderna vaccines is scheduled to arrive by June 2021.

“The Philippines is now in dire health crisis because of the recent spike in COVID-19 infections,” Pacquiao’s letter read.

“On behalf of all Filipinos and the Filipino-American community, I humbly ask for the generous help of your government to intervene for the early delivery of the Moderna vaccines. For humanitarian reasons, we hope that this matter will merit your prompt attention and action,” it added.