PH pledges $100,000 each to ASEAN COVID-19 response fund, COVAX facility

Published January 22, 2021, 5:19 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines has pledged US$100,000 to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) COVID-19 Response Fund, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said Friday.

Locsin’s announcement came a day after he  pledged S100,000 to the Covid-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility during the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ retreat.

The ASEAN response fund to COVID-19 was created in April last year as a means to help procure crucial medical supplies and equipment for frontline response and preventive efforts in all member states of the regional block.

“In addition to my $100k pledge to the COVAX Facility, I pledged another $100k to the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund from the DFA travel funds,” Locsin said in a tweet. “I wish to express my gratitude to DBM Sec. (Wendell) Avisado for realigning DFA funds for this and the depleted Passport Revolving Fund.”

Locsin earlier sought Avisado’s approval to allow the DFA to realign its funds following his disclosure that the Passport Revolving Fund was eaten up by travel allowances, insurance and miscellany. He, however, did not elaborate on how the passport fund was depleted.

The COVAX facility, on the other hand, is an international initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines, especially for low and middle-income countries. It is co-led by Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

It seeks to deliver two billion safe and effective vaccines that passed regulatory approval and WHO prequalification by the end of 2021.