MANILA — The United States announced Friday it would give an additional $11.3 million worth of assistance to the Philippines to combat COVID-19, as it thanked the country for being open to hosting refugees from Afghanistan now ruled by the Taliban.
The fresh aid brings total US COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines to $37 million, in addition to the 6 million vaccine doses donated and delivered to the Philippines through the COVAX facility.
The announcement was made following the meeting Thursday of US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan with Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in Washington, D.C.
The officials met to mark the 70th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty and “consider opportunities to further strengthen the US-Philippines Alliance.”
According to a statement released by the White House, Sullivan also “commended the Philippines for generously hosting Afghan refugees.”
“They also discussed U.S. support for the Philippines’ ongoing response to COVID-19, ongoing cooperation on counterterrorism, and the importance of respect for human rights,” the statement read.
On Thursday, Locsin announced the Philippines "welcome Afghan nationals including women and kids seeking refuge." It was unclear if the refugees have arrived.
Sullivan also discussed the Biden-Harris Administration’s “vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific” and efforts to revitalize the United States’ alliances, underscoring the United States’ commitment to Southeast Asia and support for ASEAN centrality.
The officials also discussed regional issues such as freedom of the seas and the coup in Myanmar.