MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippine government will be donating $1 million (about P50 million) to the World Health Organization-led COVAX program to help it provide more COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries.
In a recorded public address late Monday, Duterte said he answered the call for donations to give back to the initiative, which has helped the country several times.
"We were recipients of COVAX vaccines many times and it has helped a lot in our desire to vaccinate Filipinos. Ngayon sila naman ang nagkulang ng pera (Now that they are running out of funds), maybe because they are helping other nations all over the world, and as a beneficiary of the generosity of COVAX and the desire also to help people, we will answer their pleadings of donations," he said.
"The Philippines is giving $1 million. 'Yan ho ang ano natin (That's our pledge.). It's our turn also to return the goodwill that they have shown."
Duterte said he donated to the COVAX facility because it was among the first to send vaccines to the Philippines.
"Magko-contribute po ako kasi napakabuti ng COVAX sa atin at a time we needed it most. One of the earliest agencies to help us, aside from the contributions made by China," he said.
(I will contribute because COVAX has been good to us at a time we needed it most. One of the earliest agencies to help us, aside from the contributions made by China.)
Last April, the COVAX facility launched a push for an extra $2 billion in donations to buy more vaccines, ensuring that the 92 poorest participating economies can access coronavirus jabs, with the cost covered by donors.
The Philippines has so far received more than 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca and 193,050 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX program.
Video courtesy of PTV
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