President Duterte calls for cooperation to address COVID-19
MANILA – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on the APEC member economies to ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies, particularly COVID-19 vaccines.
“It is folly to assume that there can be pockets of safe havens in the face of a global pandemic,” President Duterte said in his intervention shortly before midnight Friday.
He mentioned modalities worth considering to assure everyone the needed access to the vaccines.
“Aside from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, tripartite arrangements can be made between government, private sector, and multilateral financial institutions,” President Duterte said. He called on his counterparts “to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms.”
He likewise acknowledged Malaysia’s “COVID-Live online portal” for sharing the best practices. He also cited the need for keeping free trade which he described as key to achieving sustain and inclusive economic recovery.
The Philippine chief executive said APEC helped spur economic growth and prosperity, “lifting millions of people out of poverty in the Pacific Rim region.”
He underscored the need for every APEC member economy to recommit “to bolder and more concrete ways to ensure the region’s economic well-being and vitality.
He referred to the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 which recognizes challenges and projections for possible headwinds. The Philippines, he said, reaffirms its support for a free and rules-based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization as vanguard. He likewise vowed to address the widening income inequalities between countries as he highlighted the need to “empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of a new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation.”
“Indeed, the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 gives us renewed confidence in our collective efforts and ability to build back better, healthier, and more prosperous societies,” he concluded. (Melo M. Acuña
President Rodrigo Duterte speaking before the APEC Community late Friday night. (Screen grab from PTV4/PCOO/RTVM)