• Melo Acuna

President Duterte highlights food security at ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19

President Duterte thanks China, Japan and Republic of Korea for valuable cooperation with ASEAN in the midst of COVID-19

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte, delivering his intervention at the ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 said trying to solve the pandemic alone is an exercise in futility and absurdity.

“We thank our dialogue partners, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea for the timely and generous assistance in our time of great need especially those on the end od the line,” he said.

He called on his ASEAN counterparts and the three dialogue partners to continue working together to end COVID-19 with finality.

“We support the creation of regional reserves of medical supplies to better equip us in this fight. But equally important, we must significantly enhance scientific cooperation, in the area of vaccine and anti-viral treatment research and medicines such as Avigan,” he added.

He committed the Philippines to participate in clinical trials and medical studies of potential vaccines and medicines as he expressed confidence in the region’s scientists and experts as well as those outside the region, to rise to this “colossal challenge.”

President Duterte said ASEAN and its dialogue partners as well as multilateral institutions to make sure all countries will have fair and easy access to vaccines and treatments as discussions on modalities should commence.

He again mentioned the need for food security as failure to address the need may lead to social unrest with wide-ranging complications.

“Imposing unnecessary trade restrictions on staple foods, such as rice, and other basic commodities will be harmful to everyone. We have to keep ASEAN markets open and ensure supply chair connectivity,” he explained as he called for the utilization of existing mechanisms including ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve.

Among the three dialogue partners in attendance in the online ASEAN Plus Three Summit on Covid-19 were Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (Melo M. Acuña)


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