DAYS after hurling accusations of hoarding COVID-19 vaccines developed in countries under its radar, President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines is ready to work with the European Union (EU).
At the presentation of credentials of EU Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Véron and other new foreign diplomats in the country, Duterte hinted on what he aptly referred to as deep respect for democracy and rule of law.
“I accept your Excellency’s credentials as the Ambassador of the EU to the Philippines. The Philippines and EU share a deep respect for democracy and rule of law. This will serve as a solid foundation for our robust cooperation based on mutual respect and benefit,” Duterte said.
“The Philippines is ready to work constructively with the EU for the greater good of our peoples,” he also said.
Véron, for his part, cited the diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the EU, which he added started in 1964, based on respect and mutual benefit.
“We will be true to our shared pledge of rules-based international order,” Véron said.
The Ambassador cited the EU’s efforts to fight climate change and its role in humanitarian aid, civil protection and disaster preparedness, including ensuring that developing countries like the Philippines have access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“The EU is willing to have a productive political relationship with the Philippine government, particularly to support the Philippines in its efforts to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and its efforts to restart its economy,” Véron pointed out.
The EU and its member-states will continue their efforts to contribute to the international response to the pandemic, including by guaranteeing affordable and fair access to vaccines for all,” Véron added.
Other foreign envoys who presented their credentials include: Antonio Jose Maria de Souza e Silva of Brazil, Kim Inchul of South Korea, Michele Jeanine Boccoz of France and Marcela Ordoñez of Colombia.
The EU has since denied Duterte’s claim of EU holding COVID-19 vaccines, issuing a statement that the Philippines is among the 92 low- and middle-income countries which are exempted from its ban on the exportation of COVID-19 vaccines.
“The authorization mechanism for exports of COVID-19 vaccines include a wide range of exemptions from prior authorization, to ensure the EU continues to fully honor its commitments to deliver the vaccine to our direct neighborhood and to 92 low- and middle-income countries, including the Philippines, covered by the COVAX facility,” the EU said in a statement.