President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Thursday said he may visit the United States to personally thank the American government for donating COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines.
President Duterte’s statement came following the arrival of 5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the US government.
“May mga bakuna man tayo, may dumating. Kasasabi lang ni Secretary Galvez pati Secretary Duque na ang Amerika nagbigay bago, 5 million?” the President said in his pre-recorded public address late Thursday, September 30.
“Ang bait ng Amerika. Baka pupunta ako doon just to thank the American government and the people. Ano na bang itsura ng Amerika?”
Relatedly, the President decided to terminate the country’s Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the Americans but recalled the move following his July meeting with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III.
He admitted that America’s COVID-19 vaccine donations played a role in his decision not to terminate the VFA.
In 2017, former US President Donald Trump invited the Filipino leader to visit the US.
As of Thursday, President Duterte reported that the Philippines received more than 71 million vaccine doses against COVID-19. The government purchased 46 million doses, while 16 million doses came from the World Health Organization-led COVAX facility.
Local government units (LGUs) bought 5 million doses, while more than 3.6 million doses were donated by other countries.
To date, more than 45 million vaccine doses have been administered nationwide. Of which, 24 million doses were given as first dose.
The country now has more than 21 million fully vaccinated individuals or 27.36 percent of the country’s eligible population, according to the President. PND