'A selfish act': Duterte condemns rich nations' vaccine-hoarding in UN message

Published September 22, 2021, 6:04 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

President Duterte has slammed before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) the hoarding of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines by wealthy countries.

JAB HOARDING SLAMMED–President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the UNGA via a taped message on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021 (Screenshot from Facebook live)

Speaking during the first day of the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the UNGA on Wednesday, Sept. 22, Duterte gave a “bleak” analysis of the vaccine supply situation all over the world.

“The picture is bleak–it is a man-made drought of vaccines ravaging the poor countries. Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines while poor nations wait for trickles. They now talk of booster shots for a (sic) developing countries consider half doses just to get by,” he said in a taped speech.

“This is shocking beyond belief and must be condemned for what it is: a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally,” noted the Philippine leader.

The Philippines, which began its mass inoculation program against COVID-19 last March, has limited resources for the purchase of the foreigner-made jabs. Much of its vaccine supply have come from donations via the COVAX facility.

“We recognize that only inclusive multi-laterarilism can deliver the global public goods we need. And we believe that fairness, equality and respect should always be the basis of out engagement with one another.

“Only with these can we correct the injustices that doom the downtrodden all over the world to a life of indignity, and for the thousands during this pandemic, certain death,” Duterte said.

He told the world body that the COVID-19 pandemic will not end unless the virus is defeated everywhere. “Vaccines are key to achieving this,” he said.

“This is why the Philippines committe $1 million to the UN’s COVAX facility. This is our modest contribution to our collective fight against COVID-19,” Duterte said.

“We strongly urge our privileged partners to fully support the COVAX facility and further strengthen other cooperation mechanism. We need this to save more lives, break the cycle of variants, and help ensure global economic recovery,” he added.