Robredo thanks US for COVID-19 help during meeting with envoy

Published October 4, 2021, 7:03 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday, October 4, met with Heather Variava, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States Embassy in Manila, to talk about the two countries’ COVID-19 response and the US government’s commitment to the Philippines.

Vice President Leni Robredo receives Heather Variava, Chargé d’Affaires ad interim of the United States Embassy in Manila, at her office in Quezon City on October 4, 2021. (OVP)

Variava, who recently arrived in the country for her designation, personally visited the vice president at the Quezon City Reception House, where she holds office.

“During their discussion, VP Leni expressed her appreciation for all the help the United States has extended to the Philippines in the fight against COVID-19, including supply of vaccines and test kits, along with other forms of assistance,” a statement from the Office of the Vice President (OVP) said.

READ: Over 1.8 M Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines add to PH supply

The US official reiterated her government’s commitment to supporting the Philippines “as one of its strongest allies.”

The two officials also discussed the partnership projects of the OVP with the US Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under Robredo’s flagship poverty alleviation program, Angat Buhay.

Variava’s visit came shortly after the arrival of an additional 188,370 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the Philippines, signaling the third bilateral vaccine donation by Washington to Manila. This followed the delivery of some three million single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines in July and the three million Moderna vaccine doses donated in August.

READ: US Embassy in Manila welcomes new Charge d’Affaires

The United States is also the largest monetary contributor to Gavi, which runs the global vaccine-sharing facility COVAX from which the Philippines already received more than 13.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

To date, the total US government COVID-19 assistance to the Philippines is over P1.38 billion.

Washington has intensified its aid to the Philippines after President Duterte agreed to withhold the abrogation of the decades-old Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which accorded US troops access to Philippine military bases for training and operational purposes.