Philippines concerned with divide ''between 'vaccine-haves' and 'have-nots': Duterte
The Philippines is concerned with '' the increasing North-South Divide between the 'vaccine-haves and the 'have-nots', President Rodrigo Duterte said in his intervention at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) informal Leaders Retreat Friday night.
''We are aware that more than 80 percent of the COVID-19 vaccines have gone to rich countries, leaving the rest of us in the developing world (with] so little to get by,'' said Duterte.
''The great imbalance in vaccine access needs to be rectified. Vaccine nationalism must end,'' he added.
Duterte said ''more than a year into the pandemic, we have yet to fully contain COVID-19''.
''We need bold, collaborative responses to get back on the path of growth and prosperity,'' he said.
Duterte said the Philippines reiterates its call for equitable access to safe and effective vaccines.
''Global economic recovery hinges on an efficient and effective mass inoculation worldwide,'' said Duterte.
Duterte said collaboration in developing, manufacturing and distributing of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and medical supplies.
'' This is most urgent given the emergence of new variants,'' he said.
Duterte said vaccine prices have to be stabilized ''to the level that make them more afforable to developing countries.''
''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?,'' said Duterte.
''Beyond vaccines, economic recovery is also contingent on resilient global value chains and free movement of goods and peoples,'' added Duterte.
COVID-19 has led to many countries borrowing to spend for mitigation and recovery measures. Duterte said debt among many developing countries has increased.
''It is crucial that we ensure debt sustainably to avert volatilities in global financial markets. We must coordinate policy responses to prevent sudden swings in interest rates that could affect debt servicing,'' said Duterte. DMS