The Philippines will remain committed to the World Health Organization (WHO), Malacañang said on Thursday, amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVCID-19) pandemic.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque has assured the Duterte administration’s commitment to WHO, as he said the Philippines is willing to contribute if necessary.
“As far as the Philippines is concerned, we stand committed to the WHO and we will give our contribution when the need arises,” Roque said in a virtual press briefing.
Roque made the remark after the United States, the biggest funder of WHO, suspended funding to the United Nations body.
US President Donald Trump said he halted funding because the body covered up the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak in China before it spread around the world.
“It’s not for the Philippine president to tell other presidents what to do pero tayo po suportado natin ang WHO (we still support WHO) dahil nakita naman po natin na kung walang WHO, wala pong namuno sa coordination dito sa laban natin dito sa sakit na COVID-19,” Roque said.
Roque also appealed to other countries to continue funding the WHO.
“Sana po lahat ng bansa ng daigdig ay ipagpatuloy ang kanilang koordinasyon sa WHO at importante din po ang pagbibigay ng pondo sa WHO (I hope all countries will continue to coordinate with the WHO and it’s also important to fund it.),” said Roque.
The Philippines as of Wednesday has recorded a cumulative 5,660 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 362 deaths, and 435 recoveries.
Trump on Tuesday accused the WHO of failing to do its “basic duty” and promoting China’s “disinformation” about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak.
The US currently has the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the world with more than 644,000.
WHO data showed the Philippines’ remitted hundreds of thousands in dollars and Swiss francs each year for assessed contributions or dues countries pay in order to be a member of the specialized agency of the United Nations.
The WHO’s Western Pacific regional office is located in Manila./Stacy Ang