Duterte calls for universal access to COVID-19 vaccine
President Rodrigo Duterte called for universal access to a COVID -19 vaccine in his speech during this year's APEC Economic leaders meeting on Friday.
"We aim for a comprehensive recovery with no one left behind. This can only be done through deeper engagement with the international community, especially with close partners in the Pacific Rim region," he said.
Duterte emphasized the importance of strengthening partnerships between APEC leaders in ensuring the "unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies, especially the COVID-19 vaccines.
"We have to defeat the virus everywhere, or no one is safe. To do this, we need to strengthen partnerships to make vaccines a global public good," he said.
"Aside from bilateral and multilateral cooperation, tripartite arrangements can be made between the government, private sector, and multilateral financial institutions," the president said.
"There is no other way. Let us resolve to act decisively on universal vaccine access and maximize these mechanisms," he added.
Duterte also stressed the significance of maintaining free, open and fair trade in achieving sustained and inclusive economic recovery.
"APEC will play an important role. Mr. Chair, over the years APEC has helped spur economic growth and prosperity, lifting millions of people out of poverty in the Pacific Rim region," he said.
"Tonight, we recognize the economic advancements we have thus far made. Yet we have a new reality that is sobering. We should not be discouraged. If anything, we must recommit ourselves to bolder, more concrete ways to ensure our region’s economic well-being and vitality," he added.
Duterte also endorsed the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 which according to him "recognizes the pressing challenges of today and foresees those of the future."
"Through this Vision, we reaffirm our support for a free and rules-based multilateral trading system, with the World Trade Organization as its vanguard," he said.
"We commit to address the widening income inequalities between the countries. And we aim to empower ourselves to face the disruptive impact of a new globalization, driven by digitalization and innovation," Duterte noted.
"We convey our deepest appreciation to the eminent experts who crafted the recommendations for our new Vision. 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. Let us join hands, as we have always done, to make this Vision a reality," he added. Robina Asido/DMS