MANILA — The Philippines on Saturday urged the United States to invest in the country’s plan to develop its own “vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution industry.”
“We hope the United States will extend its support to also facilitate investments in capacity building for our local vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution industry,” Foreign Affairs Sec. Enrique Manalo told US State Secretary Antony Blinken in a joint press conference.
Manalo credited the US for giving the Philippines some 33.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the “largest we have received from a single country partner.”
“The Philippines is grateful for the substantial and critical support of the United States in our COVID-19 recovery efforts,” he said.
“The over 33.6 million donated vaccine doses… have saved millions of lives and supported our economy and health system.”
Blinken said the US “seeks to work closely” with the Marcos administration to ensure that the alliance between Manila and Washington would “make the proud history that we share into a living history for the benefit of Filipinos and Americans alike.”
“The US remains a top 3 trading partners for the Philippines. American firms are among the largest employers, the biggest tax payers and the highest value exporters here,” Blinken said.
“We wanna expand those ties on private sector investments, on public-private partnerships and by working together to address leading challenges of the 21st century economy like shaping emerging technologies, strengthening our supply chains, accelerating our transition to a green economy,” he said.
“This is not about getting back to where we were before COVID-19, it’s about moving forward and transitioning all our economies to the needs and events and opportunities that are in the 21st century,” he said.
In May, Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran said Marcos was “very keen” on developing PH’s domestic pharmaceutical sector and Indian firms “are looking forward to a strong engagement.”
The United States and India are among the countries that house the largest pharmaceutical firms in the world.
On Friday, Marcos spoke to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone, but no specifics were mentioned as of posting time.