Manila to appeal to the United States for the supply of fertilizers and the development of vaccines
Manila and Washington are in talks for possible access to fertilizers and the modernization of the agricultural sector as well as the development and manufacture of vaccines.
“We recognize the important role that the United States can play in ensuring that developing countries like ours can have access to key commodities, including fertilizers,” Foreign Secretary Enrique Manalo said during a briefing. a joint press briefing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“We agree to continue our discussions in Manila…on how we can cooperate to access fertilizers, lower prices for our farmers, and technology that will allow us to modernize and make agriculture in the Philippines more efficient, cost-effective and climate-smart,” Manalo says.
Last month, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said his administration was willing to strike government-to-government deals to ensure sufficient supplies of fertilizers and address rising food prices.
Manalo also urged the United States to invest in the country’s plan to develop its own vaccine industry.
“We hope that the United States will extend its support to also facilitate investments in building the capacity of our local vaccine development, manufacturing and distribution industry,” he said.
He thanked the United States for donating some 33.6 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines, which he said was “the largest we have received from a single partner country.”
“The Philippines is grateful for the substantial and essential support of the United States in our COVID-19 recovery efforts. Vaccines have saved millions of lives and supported our economy and our healthcare system,” Manalo said.
Blinken led the ceremonial handover of additional COVID-19 aid to the Philippines on Saturday at the Manila Zoo where he was joined by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Department of Health official Maria Rosario Vergeire and Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna for a pediatric vaccination activity.
“These donations from the U.S. government amount to a massive improvement in the nation’s response to COVID-19.
Thank you, and Filipinos will never forget your kindness and generosity, especially in these difficult times,” Vergeire said.
Blinken said the United States “seeks to work closely” with the Marcos administration.
“The United States remains one of the Philippines’ top three trading partners. American companies are among the biggest employers, biggest taxpayers and biggest exporters here,” Blinken said.
“We want to expand these connections on private sector investments, on public-private partnerships and working together to address key challenges of the 21st century economy, like shaping emerging technologies, strengthening our supply chains and accelerating our transition to a green economy.”
“It’s not about going back to where we were before COVID-19, it’s about moving forward and shifting all of our economies to the needs, events and opportunities of the 21st century,” Blinken added.