FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., underscored the importance of making vaccines a universal public good and said the Philippines will look to multilateral global alliances such as the Covax facility which the UK is part of, for Covid-19 vaccine cooperation.
“The UK’s interest to help Asean member-states combat Covid-19 shows that the UK remains a dependable partner for the region,” Locsin said during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-UK Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Covid-19 cooperation via videoconference last September 30, 2020.
He said we have a better understanding of the contagion after six months from the spread of the pandemic, “but our priorities are the same: strengthening health-care systems, joint research and development of vaccines, increasing production and supply of medicines and medical equipment, keeping our markets open and safeguarding supply chain connectivity.”
Locsin asked the UK to continue protecting Filipino health-care professionals and uphold their well-being, “and remember their contributions as they continue to answer the call of nations all over the world to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The DFA chief added, “I take pride that Filipino health-care workers are among the best to venture forth to the frontlines anywhere in the world; famous as much for technical competence as genuine loving care.”
The Meeting exchanged views on ways to enhance cooperation in tackling socioeconomic challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both sides agreed on the importance of rebuilding sustainable, green and resilient economies, as well as fruitful and substantive means of cooperation between the Asean and UK in tackling public health emergencies.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab emphasized the UK’s commitment to the region and how their cooperation with Asean has gone from strength to strength.
He singled out Locsin’s eloquent articulation of history as constituent elements for Asean’s cooperation with the UK.
The Meeting welcomed the UK’s commitment to refocus its funding to Covid-19 initiatives that aid Asean in recovery, including the 1 million GBP commitment to the Asean Covid-19 Response Fund and funding support extended to the Asean Secretariat and the AHA Center.
Aside from Locsin, the virtual meeting was attended by the foreign ministers and high representatives of Asean member-states, including Asean Secretary-General Dato Lim Jock Hoi and UK Foreign Secretary Raab.
Image credits: DFA