By Keith Brendan Zamora


Presidential spokesman Harry Roque slammed rich countries on Monday for donating COVID-19 vaccines through the worldwide initiative COVAX facility, stating that the donations were made out of guilt.

Roque made the statement as he reaffirmed his COVID-19 vaccine equity advocacy in his candidacy for a position on the International Law Commission (ILC), a United Nations panel that establishes and codifies international law.

"Ang pagkakaiba ng ating sinusulong, ang COVAX, voluntary, feel-good ng mga mayayamang bansa dahil mino-monopolize nila ang suplay ng vaccine," Roque said during the "Sa Bakuna, Panalo Ka" event in Angeles City, Pampanga.

(The difference between COVAX and what we're advocating for is that COVAX donations are voluntary and feel-good for affluent countries because they have a monopoly on vaccine supplies.)

"Dahil nga kinakailangang iaddress ang guilty conscience, 'Mamigay tayo ng konti sa mga mahihirap na bansa.' Hindi po yan ang solusyon sa pandemiya dahil sinasabi ng WHO [World Health Organization] na no one is safe until all of us [are] safe," he added.

(They need to confront their shame by considering donating vaccines to underdeveloped countries. That isn't the answer to the pandemic, because, as the WHO has stated, no one is safe until we are all safe.)

Meanwhile, vaccine czar Carlito Galvez stated that the country has received nearly 77 million COVID-19 vaccine shots.

Out of this total, 48.7 million doses were purchased by the national government, 19.6 million were provided through the COVAX facility, 5.3 million were purchased through a tripartite agreement between local government entities and the business sector, and 3.6 million were directly contributed by foreign countries. 

In terms of vaccination, more than 45 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been provided, with 21 million people already fully protected against the virus.

Report source: Manila Bulletin