MANILA - The country's top diplomat on Friday urged the United Nations to rally its member-states to “to set aside self-interest and work in solidarity” to beat the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his video message for the United Nations Day, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. said there is a need for “a much stronger response to the pandemic” as he reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to work with the United Nations to beat the pandemic.
“Nations break ranks in the race for the first COVID-19 vaccine. The UN must stand in the breach made by disunity to ensure that the less powerful, the less rich, those who cannot be heard, those who cannot be reached, those who cannot be saved—if we fail them mankind will never be safe again,” Locsin said.
"There will always be those who will remember that they were left to suffer and die alone.
The COVID-19 pandemic gave nations the chance to come close together and “reshape the world to better effect," Locsin said.
He said the pandemic that is killing people and threatening to bring recession is the “world’s most challenging crisis since World War II.”
“Together and never at odds with each other, we must face it head on and save all our people because we cannot save just our own,” Locsin said.
In his first appearance at the UN General Assembly last September, President Rodrigo Duterte said all countries should get access to coronavirus vaccines once these have been developed, deemed effective and distributed to the public.
In a pre-recorded video message to the UN convention, Duterte emphasized "ensuring universal access" to medicines and technology to combat COVID-19 "is pivotal in the global pandemic recovery."
"The world is in the race to find a safe and effective vaccine. When the world finds that vaccine, access to it must not be denied nor withheld. It should be made available to all, rich and poor nations alike, as a matter of policy," he said during the UN's 75th anniversary.