Duterte to tackle pandemic response in Nikkei forum

President Duterte is expected to highlight his views on efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and how to attain recovery when he speaks before a virtual international conference on Friday.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

The President is scheduled to deliver an address on Friday, May 21, before the 26th International Conference on the Future of Asia, also known as the Nikkei conference, that will be streamed live from Tokyo, Japan.

This year's conference, organized by Japanese media giant Nikkei Inc., will bring together various political, economic and academic leaders from Asia to discuss the region's role in global recovery from the pandemic.

"In his address, the President will advance Philippine views and positions on the ongoing global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and what needs to be done to achieve full recovery. This is in line with the theme 'Shaping the Post- COVID Era: Asia’s Role in the Global Recovery,'" the Palace said in a statement.

"This will be the President’s second time to address the Nikkei Conference, one of Asia’s top foreign policy and economic fora," it added.

The Palace said the President will join other leaders from Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as heads of international organizations in the lineup of speakers.

The President, in recent virtual international assemblies, has called for equal access to coronavirus vaccines to save lives amid the pandemic. He maintained that no was safe until everyone was safe.

As the country's cases of infections soared past a million, Duterte has drawn criticisms for his government's alleged slow response to the pandemic but he insisted his administration was doing its best to handle the situation. Rejecting claims the government was remiss in helping the poor, he recently said the billions in cash aid have been distributed to help people cope with the pandemic.

Recently, Duterte has threatened to reimpose a stricter lockdown if there will be a resurgence of coronavirus cases amid the threat of the new variants.