April 26, 2020 Sunday
MANILA, 27 April 2020 – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) expressed support to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s call for the establishment of a regional early warning system for pandemics that immediately forewarns countries of imminent public health emergencies.
President Duterte made the call during his intervention in the Special Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which gathered the region’s heads of state via video conference on April 14, 2020.
current and imminent disease outbreaks.
“COVID-19 will not be the last pandemic the world will face. We have to be ready for future outbreaks. We therefore have to improve and expand existing ASEAN’s mechanisms to cover public health emergencies. Specifically, we should establish an early warning system for pandemics in the region. This is something vital and concrete that we can do in a collective manner,” he said.
Among the countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the third highest number of cases with a total number of 7,579 COVID-19 cases, following Singapore and Indonesia, with 13,624 and 8,882 cases, respectively, as of April 26.
The climate body advised that the strengthening of surveillance and early warning for emerging and re-emerging diseases is critical in ensuring the resilient recovery of ASEAN countries from the pandemic in the new normal, noting that the climate emergency increases the risk of engendering and spreading diseases caused by viruses and pathogens.
With the lacking supply of essential medicines and medical equipment for COVID-19, President Duterte urged to enhance regional cooperation and networking to boost production and facilitate intra-ASEAN trade of these life-saving necessities. He also encouraged the ASEAN countries to remain open for trade to ensure the continuous flow of goods within the region.
President Duterte also supported the undertaking of medical research and development toward finding a cure for COVID-19, as well as Thailand’s proposal to establish a COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund for developing a vaccine or treatment for the disease.
“Our present challenge transcends borders and exempts no one. Regardless of how we handle the crisis within our own respective territories, we can only be truly safe if we defeat this virus everywhere. Let us therefore strengthen our networks of solidarity and cooperation. Let us surmount this crisis together,” President Duterte said.