At APEC, Duterte calls for stronger collaboration in making, distributing COVID-19 vaccines
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday called for stronger collaboration of nations in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medical supplies, as he advocated for equitable access to safe and effective anti-COVID-19 shots.
He made the call during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) Informal Leaders’ Retreat held on Friday night, where he urged for bold and collaborative responses to effectively contain the pandemic and accelerate global economic recovery.
The President pointed out the increasing divide from nations who have access to vaccines and those who do not, noting that “more than 80 percent of COVID-19 vaccines have gone to rich countries, leaving the rest of us in the developing world with so little to get by.”
He said global economic recovery hinges on efficient and effective mass vaccination against COVID-19 worldwide.
“I say this in earnest: we must get our priorities straight. How can nations have stockpiles of weapons that can destroy us all but not have ready reserves of life-saving vaccines and medical supplies for sharing that can save us all,” Duterte said.
He called on APEC economies to resist imposing barriers to the free flow of vaccines and other related essential products and to stabilize vaccine prices to make them more affordable to developing nations.
President Duterte also urged APEC economies to pursue the use of internationally recognized digital vaccination certifications that are scientific, verifiable, and non-discriminatory to allow international travel while safeguarding public health.
Present during the meeting were key cabinet officials including Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua.
The 21 member economies of APEC include, Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Russia, Singapore, United States of America, and Vietnam.
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