Secretary Antony J. Blinken At a COVID-19 Assistance Event

MODERATOR:  (In progress) taking part in at the moment’s occasion.  I would love first to welcome to the rostrum the Honorable Marie Sheilah “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan – to the mayor of Manila.  Thanks.  (Applause.)

LACUNA-PANGAN: Good afternoon, everybody. On behalf of the individuals of Manila, we wish to welcome the Honorable U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, officers from the U.S. Authorities, america Company for Worldwide Growth, and our buddies from the division of well being. 

Nations from all corners of the world have been shocked with sudden inflow of COVID-19 circumstances since 2019.  However all people labored arduous to right away develop programs to deal with the disaster, from tracing, treating, and stopping the unfold of this virus amongst their countrymen.  The town authorities of Manila, because the capital metropolis of the Philippines with virtually 2 million individuals, tried to answer the pandemic by implementing (inaudible) COVID-19 –which stands for comprise and delay COVID-19 – by lockdowns and curfews because the pandemic hit in early 2020.

We take advantage of out of our well being cluster comprised of the town well being division and 6 city-run hospitals to face the challenges to check, hint, and deal with sufferers.  On this occasion, we noticed extra the significance of getting allies and companions with whom we are able to forge and maintain relationship, partnership together with the U.S. Authorities and USAID, to assist our citizen get lifesaving care and entry to the rollout of vaccines.  We thank the U.S. Authorities for offering such intensive assist to the town authorities of Manila.

Together with your assist, we have been capable of administer greater than 300 doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the deployment of cell (inaudible) and donations of IT equipments to boost our vaccine knowledge reporting and administration.  We’re proud to share that through the early phases of the nationwide vaccination rollout, we have been really one, if not the primary among the many native authorities models within the nationwide capital area with the quickest vaccination price.  Once more, we’re grateful to your assist.

We additionally recognize the U.S. Authorities’s donation of BIDA marketing campaign supplies and the set up of hand hygiene stations in 16 well being services.  This has supplied free hand-washing entry to 290 individuals per day, thus giving Manileños extra layers of safety from COVID-19.  USAID – the U.S. Division of Protection additionally supplied greater than 19,000 PPEs and important medical provides and 10,000 fast antigen testing kits which helped us climate the final Omicron surge early this 12 months.  All these collaborations are in synch with the nationwide authorities’s “forestall, detect, isolate, deal with” reintegration and COVID-19 vaccination program.

We’re honored and grateful to have america Authorities and USAID right here with us at the moment, and I wish to prolong my warmest gratitude to Secretary Blinken and our U.S. Authorities companions for being our key ally throughout these most difficult occasions.  And we hope that we are able to additional improve this partnership to make sure that our well being programs are higher geared up for the disaster of the long run.  We are saying welcome (in Filipino).  Thanks and mabuhay.


Esteemed company, buddies, women, and gents, allow us to now take heed to the Honorable U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.


SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Effectively, good afternoon, everybody.  Madam Mayor, thanks a lot for that great introduction.  I’ve to say I believe we’ve seen first-hand only a second in the past why Manila is so lucky to have a former doctor main its COVID-19 response.  Discuss constituent companies – I believe a few of you noticed the mayor administer a vaccine to a younger baby.  That’s spectacular.

And let me simply give a particular thanks as nicely to everybody who has been concerned in preventing COVID within the Philippines, together with these of you from the division of well being, the Manila Metropolis Well being Workplace, the Philippines Genome Middle, the Bulacan Medical Middle, the various group well being care employees and different civil society leaders who stepped ahead to avoid wasting lives.

So I simply had the chance to among the extraordinary efforts underway to get photographs into arms, significantly for kids.  In a couple of minutes, I’ll additionally get to satisfy among the civil society leaders who’ve been concerned within the Philippines response.  They’re additionally alumni of American change packages just like the Younger Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative – referred to as YSEALI – and the Worldwide Guests Management Program, one thing that we on the State Division are additionally very happy with.  So we share of their nation’s satisfaction of their public service.

The organizations that they lead are enjoying a crucial position in preventing COVID-19 right here within the Philippines.

To call only a couple two examples, Pleasure Cruise is the founding father of a design company.  It’s referred to as Limitless Lab.  She and a gaggle of different YSEALI alumni created AdaptPH, a nationwide marketing campaign that encourages individuals to look at public security protocols like carrying masks and social distancing.  Greater than 240 native governments throughout the Philippines are actually utilizing her supplies to attempt to flatten the curve of COVID circumstances.

Gabriel Beeyonez is the co-founder of the Break the Pretend Motion.  That works to attempt to debunk disinformation that’s on the market in regards to the pandemic, about COVID-19.  He partnered with our embassy right here in Manila to create the “Media Civics Lab,” coaching elected officers to grasp how disinformation threatens the pandemic response.  Lots of of officers are actually higher geared up to counter disinformation of their communities because of working on this partnership.

So there are various different tales that I might inform, however the principle factor is that this:  The civil society leaders who’re right here with us are defending individuals’s lives, defending their livelihoods, and serving to pace the Philippines’ restoration from COVID.

And we’re seeing very encouraging indicators of that restoration throughout us.  Greater than 70 million Filipinos have been vaccinated.  Infections have gone down.  Fewer individuals who get COVID are hospitalized or dying from it.  And shortly, youngsters will return to high school in individual.

However there may be nonetheless work to do.  There are roughly 2,500 new circumstances of COVID-19 every day all throughout the Philippines.  Sixteen million individuals have obtained their booster photographs.  That’s loads, however extra have to get it if we’re going to remain defending in opposition to all the variants.  Fewer than 4 million youngsters ages 5 to 11 are totally vaccinated, and that’s about six million under the place I do know the Philippines desires to be.  That’s why it was so encouraging only a second in the past to see all the kids who’re right here, able to get their vaccines.

Because the Philippines continues to work to vaccinate individuals, to scale back the unfold and save lives, my message is straightforward:  America is with you.

We’ve been proud to have donated greater than 33 million protected, efficient vaccines to the Philippines, no political strings hooked up.

We’ve supplied greater than $50 million to your COVID-19 response to assist practice healthcare employees, to spice up the vaccine rollout, to assist the financial restoration.

We’re additionally offering provides for the continued battle in opposition to COVID-19, and we’ve got some right here with us right here at the moment – testing kits, laboratory tools.  All of that can go to the Philippines Genome Middle, the Bulacan Medical Middle, and our different companions who’re right here with us at the moment.

Finally – in the end – we’ll finish this pandemic and emerge higher ready for future well being crises by working collectively not solely throughout governments, however throughout non-public sectors and throughout civil society.

That’s the concept behind one thing we began referred to as the World Motion Plan – we launched in February.  And the concept was to determine the remaining gaps in international COVID response after which match nations which have distinctive capabilities to assist fill these gaps.  The World Motion Plan focuses on six key traces of effort: getting photographs into arms, bolstering provide chains and their resilience, addressing the knowledge gaps and coping with misinformation, supporting healthcare employees, bettering testing and coverings, and strengthening the worldwide well being safety structure for the long run as a result of we all know, at the same time as we get by this pandemic, there might be extra to come back.  And we’ve got to be taught all the classes from this expertise to be sure that we’re higher ready, extra successfully ready subsequent time to see if we are able to forestall – and if not forestall, put together for and mitigate – any future pandemics.

If the world could make robust progress alongside these six traces of effort that I’ve described, we are able to finish the acute section of COVID-19.  However that requires a substantial amount of coordination and cooperation amongst nations.  No single certainly one of us can do it alone.  And that’s why robust well being partnerships – just like the one between america and the Philippines – are so crucial.

So once more, I merely need to thank everybody who contributed and continues to contribute to that partnership – merely put, if for the sake of individuals in each our nations and folks world wide.

And now, Dr. Maria Rosario Vergeire from the division of well being, the microphone is yours.  Thanks.  (Applause.)

MS VERGEIRE:  Thanks very a lot for Honorable Secretary of State Antony Blinken – (in Filipino) – for being right here and attending and becoming a member of us on this occasion.  To our U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, MaryKay Carlson; to our USAID colleagues headed by appearing Mission Director Betty Chung; to the appearing well being director, Katherine Tilout, our colleague Dr. Yolanda Oliveros; Dr. Ernesto Bontuyan, and in addition Ms. Consuelo Anonuevo; in fact to our honorable mayor, our superb good friend, very dynamic employee, Mayor “Honey” Lacuna-Pangan; and in addition to their Vice Mayor Yul Servo.

Because the world embraces the brand new regular, the Division of Well being continues to work tirelessly to make sure that the Filipino persons are geared up with correct well being info, preventive well being care companies, remedy, and vaccination.  Since 2020, we’ve got obtained a number of donations from america to assist the nation’s COVID-19 prevention and management efforts: 33.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the COVAX facility; totally different tools similar to mechanical ventilators, ICU beds, and ultra-low freezers; and medicines and hospital provides.  We additionally obtained assist to our sub-national laboratories for vaccine-preventable ailments.  We now have additionally obtained provides and equipments coming from the World Well being Group.

At present we’re happy to witness the ceremonial turnover to the Philippines of those following laboratory equipments and medical provides coming from america: one automated extraction machine for Bulacan Medical Middle; 13,000 fast antigen checks for the Bulacan Medical Middle; (inaudible) COVID testing reagents for Philippine Genome Middle; 5,000 take a look at kits for the Manila well being division; and various PPEs and 103 wash kits for the colleges of the town of Manila.

These donations equate to an enormous enchancment of the capability of our public well being care system to ship crucial care as a part of our arsenal within the battle in opposition to COVID-19.  We specific our sincerest gratitude to america Authorities for its unwavering help to the Philippines in responding to COVID-19 and defending Filipinos with much-needed vaccines and technical help.  Your assist helped save the lives of many, many Filipinos.  At present, the division of well being has administered greater than 168 million doses of vaccines.  Our BIDA, Resbakuna, and now the Pinas Lakas marketing campaign wouldn’t have been profitable with out your assist.  We cherish this longstanding well being partnership, and we hope that this degree of dedication is sustained past the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the subsequent few months we might be working to satisfy Mr. President Bongbong Marcos’ directive, which is to vaccinate 90 p.c of our senior residents and in addition to manage not less than 50 p.c to our eligible inhabitants for these first booster photographs.  The division of well being goals to realize this within the first 100 days of this present administration, and your assist could be of nice support.   Lately, we simply launched the Pinas Lakas marketing campaign encouraging everybody to get totally vaccinated – Pinas Lakas marketing campaign encouraging everybody to get totally vaccinated, significantly our senior residents or our aged inhabitants.  We’re working hand in hand with different nationwide businesses, our native authorities models, and our private and non-private stakeholders, and naturally our growth companions together with USAID, to assist put together our communities – particularly our academics and youngsters – as we’re opening our colleges 100% head to head this faculty 12 months.

Greater than ever, the pandemic has additionally emphasised the significance of getting common well being look after all, and as we aspire for our common well being look after all Filipino individuals, DOH can be grateful to USAID for offering technical help in making ready us for UHC’s rollout.  The DOH, USAID, and others growth companions are working collaboratively to determine the administration, technical, and financing mechanisms for such an endeavor, strengthening native authorities capability and offering technical sources to roll out this precedence laws right here within the Philippines.  We envision that with this cooperation with the U.S. Authorities and different companions, we are able to make well being accessible to each Filipino within the coming years.

Additional, we sit up for sustaining and increasing our partnership to ramp up booster vaccinations, higher combine COVID-19 actions with our common well being care efforts, and thus strengthen our well being programs to forestall and reply to additional pandemics sooner or later.

On behalf of the division of well being, I wish to prolong my most fervent gratitude to america Authorities serving to the Philippines get again on its toes and construct again higher.  The Filipino individuals will always remember the kindness you may have proven throughout these making an attempt occasions.  (In Filipino.)   Thanks very a lot.

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