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Prez Duterte to APEC: Ensure free flow of COVID-19 vaccine

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the People after holding a meeting with members of his cabinet and Senator Christopher Lawrence Go to discuss various updates at the Malacañang Golf (Malago) Clubhouse on November 10, 2020. KING RODRIGUEZ/ PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Friday has urged the member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)  to “ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies,” especially the future coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine.

“We have to ensure the unimpeded flow of medical supplies and technologies especially COVID-19 vaccines. It is folly to assume that there can be pockets of safe havens in face of a global pandemic. We have to defeat the virus everywhere, or no one is safe,” Duterte said in his speech at the online APEC forum hosted by Malaysia this year.

“To do this, we need to strengthen partnership to make vaccines a global public good,” he said.

The President pushed for “tripartite arrangements be made between the government, private sector, and multilateral financial institutions” apart from bilateral deals for access to the vaccine.

The Chief Executive said the information “is the key to effective response and mitigation efforts” amid the pandemic. He also called for “free, open and fair” trade among APEC members.

Founded in 1989, APEC is a platform for discussions on free trade and economic cooperation by Pacific Rim countries covering 37 percent of the global population, including 48 percent of the world’s trade volume.

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