Manny Pacquiao asks Biden: Expedite delivery of Moderna to Philippines
This file photo taken on November 18, 2020 shows a syringe and a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to the Moderna biotech company logo.
Joel Saget/AFP

Manny Pacquiao asks Biden: Expedite delivery of Moderna to Philippines

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Manny Pacquiao has sent US President Joe Biden a letter requesting him to facilitate the early delivery of some 20 million doses of Moderna vaccines secured by the Philippine government with the private sector as the country’s COVID-19 cases continue to surge.

In his April 10 letter to Biden coursed through John Law, charge d’ affaires of the US embassy in Manila, Pacquiao noted that the country’s health care system is on the brink of collapse but the first batch of Moderna doses is not expected to arrive until June.

“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,” Pacquiao said.

He said even “an initial release of at least 10 million doses this April would go a long way in saving many Filipino lives.”

The boxing legend-turned-politician said the country is now in a dire health crisis due to the spike in infections, particularly in Metro Manila caused by new mutations that “pushed the capacity of several hospitals towards collapse and major hospitals have been operating at full capacity.”

“For humanitarian reasons, we hope that this matter will merit your prompt attention and action,” he said.

Pacquiao told reporters yesterday during an online press conference that the vaccines – or at least a significant number of them – have already been paid for by the private sector, a situation that could help Biden justify an intervention.

Private companies in the Philippines are not allowed to procure vaccines without the approval of government.

He stressed he did not bypass the government in writing to Biden as he coordinated with Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez.

He said he did not immediately announce his sending a letter to Biden as his immediate concern was the early delivery of vaccines.

He said several Filipino-American organizations are also trying to convince Biden to help the country.

Pacquiao also expressed support for the call of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto for the government to start making prepayments of vaccines the country would need next year to ensure steady supply.

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