Duterte eyes US visit to thank gov’t for vaccines

Duterte eyes US visit to thank gov’t for vaccines

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte wants to visit the United States to personally thank their government for their donation of vaccines against Covid-19.

In a prerecorded public address on Thursday night, Duterte bared that the Philippines will be receiving an additional 5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

“Kasasabi lang ni Secretary Galvez at Secretary Duque na ang America nagbigay ng bago, 5 million [doses] (Secretary [Carlito] Galvez and Secretary [Francisco] Duque just informed me that America is giving us new doses, 5 million doses),” he said.

He did not mention the brand of the vaccine.

“Ang bait ng America. Baka pupunta ako doon (America is so generous. I might go there) just to thank the American government and the people,” he added.

Citing government data, Duterte said the country has received more than 71 million Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Of this number, around 46 million doses were purchased by the government, 16 million doses were coursed through the World Health Organization-COVAX facility, 5 million doses were purchased by local government units, and more than 3.6 million doses were donated by other countries.

The Philippines has administered more than 45 million Covid-19 vaccines doses, of which over 21 million are fully vaccinated.

In his final State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) in July, Duterte said he would not visit the US, one of the country’s oldest allies.

“I have not been to America, almost 10 years, 22 years, I have not visited America and I do not have any intention of visiting anymore,” Duterte said.

Last August, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque admitted that the vaccine donations from the US may be one of the reasons Duterte decided to keep the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“The President considered the totality of the recent situation and thorough assessment [of the agreement] based on national interest. By considering the totality of the circumstances, there is a good possibility that it was factored in the situation,” Roque said. (PNA)

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