Duterte calls for equitable vaccine distribution
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte called on APEC Member Economies to consider the plight of developing and middle income countries who depend on vaccines to reopen their respective economies.
During his Intervention at the APEC Leaders’ Informal Retreat held virtually yesterday, president Duterte said the world has still contain the COVID-19 and comprehensive recovery has remained elusive.
He underscored the Philippines’ concern with the increasing North-South divide between “vaccine haves” and the “have nots.”
“The great imbalance in vaccine access needs to be rectified. Vaccine nationalism must end,” he said. He suggested deeper collaboration among countries for vaccines, therapeutics, and medical supplies as he called on APEC to resist imposing barriers.
He said the APEC Member economies should expedite the realization of the Free Trade Asia of the Asia Pacific, “drawing elements from the RCEP agreement and other regional arrangements.
President Duterte added the pandemic has resulted in the shift to e-commerce and other digital activities and to immediately reach out to micro, small and medium enterprises as APEC is home to more than 100 MSMEs. He considered the MSMEs as drivers of economic growth.
He called on the other Member economies to facilitate international travel and safeguarding public health at the same time, suggesting arrangements on the use of internationally recognized digital vaccination certificates which are scientific, verifiable and non-discriminatory.
President Duterte said the global and domestic mechanisms remain in adequate to meet what he described as “systemic shocks of great magnitude.”
“Finally we wish Japan success in mounting the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games. Delayed by a year, Tokyo 2020 has now become a symbol of global unity and a testament to humanity’s boundless capacity to overcome odds,” he concluded.
APEC 2021 is hosted by New Zealand with the APEC Leaders’ Informal Retreat was presided by Prime Minister Jacinda Kate Laurell Ardern. (Melo M. Acuña)
President Rodrigo Duterte. (PNA File Photo)