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Philippines assures cooperation with Russia on COVID-19 response

The Philippines on Tuesday said it was ready to work with Russia in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

Malacañang issued the statement after Russia last week expressed willingness to supply coronavirus vaccines to the Philippines and proposed conducting clinical trials and the setting up of a vaccine production hub in the country.

“The Philippines stands ready to work with Russia on clinical trials, vaccine supply and production, and other areas deemed practicable by relevant Philippine and Russian agencies to address this global health emergency,” the Palace said through the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs.

“Like similar bilateral and multilateral arrangements, all cooperation initiatives will be consistent with protocols for testing and health standards.”

The Palace said it appreciates Russia’s offer, adding international cooperation is key to effectively combat the pandemic.

“Consistent with the President’s independent foreign policy, we continue to work with partners across the world to ensure access to safe vaccines,” it said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he was willing to be the first Filipino to receive the anti-COVID-19 shots which Russia had developed.

Duterte also said Russia may be giving the Philippines its vaccines for free. — RSJ, GMA News