Pacquiao asks Biden to expedite delivery of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Philippines
Admitting that the slow delivery of vaccines frustrates him, Senator Manny Pacquiao has asked US President Joseph Biden to facilitate the immediate release of 20 million doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine procured by the Philippines in partnership with the private sector.
"Prangka ako magsalita, nababagalan ako sa pagdeliver ng vaccine, sa ibang bansa massive na vaccination na," Pacquiao said in an online interview with reporters Monday.
In a letter dated April 10 through Charge d'Affaires John Law, Pacquiao said the Philippines is "now in dire health crisis because of the recent spike in COVID-19 infections."
He said the first batch of the Moderna doses is announced to arrive in the country by June 2021.
"On behalf of all Filipinos and the Filipino-American community, I humbly ask for the generous help of your government to intervene for the early delivery of the Moderna vaccines. Even an initial release and delivery of at least P10 million doses this April would go a long way in saving many Filipino lives," he said.
In response to Pacquiao dated April 22, Law said he already conveyed to Biden's office the senator's request.
He added that the US Embassy in Manila has been honored to assist and support "our friends and allies in obtaining vaccines, treating patients, and preventing the spread of disease."
Pacquiao said he has yet to have a direct communication with Biden but Filipino-Americans and Ambassador Jose Manuel "Babe" Romualdez are helping him.
"Kinausap natin si Ambassador Romualdez na tinutulugan din tayo ma-accommodate ang concern natin pati letter natin sa White House, ma-accommodate ang sulat natin kay President Biden," he said.
Asked if his move was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, the senator said he is just doing what he can to expedite the delivery of vaccines.
"Hindi naman sa inuunahan ko ang ating Pangulo pero ginagawa natin ang lahat ng ating maitutulong para sa ating mga kababayan...kailangan natin ang immediate response sa problema dahil dumarami ang COVID cases," he said.
Pacquiao also expressed hope that the fact that he already met in 2011 then Vice President Biden would help him further his cause.
"Karangalan ko na ang Presidente ngayon ay nameet ko na so sa tingin ko naman kilala rin niya ako so makakatulong nang malaki sa request natin," he said.
In April, Romualdez said the delivery of vaccine doses from Moderna might be slightly delayed due to the US' policy on vaccine export.
“There’s sort of like a ban for exporting these vaccines coming from the United States because of the domestic demand,” Romualdez said.—AOL, GMA News