The Swedish Embassy celebrates the National Day in the Philippines
Swedish Ambassador Annika Thunborg in front of the iconic Mall of Asia Globe, decked out in Swedish colors to commemorate the country’s National Day.
The Swedish Embassy celebrated its National Day with the theme “Team Sweden: boosted for business and good health”. The event brought together Swedish companies and members of the Philippine government, public sector and private sector to advocate for the Covid-19 booster vaccination as a way out of the lingering effects of the pandemic.
Sweden is a country known for innovation, sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The Swedish team – made up of the Swedish Embassy, Business Sweden and Swedish companies – chose to strengthen efforts against Covid-19 by promoting booster vaccinations in the Philippines amid the country’s low rate in 13%.
Since the start of the pandemic, Sweden has donated 10 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, mostly through Covax. Over 1.5 million doses of vaccine have been donated in the Philippines. It is also one of Covax’s largest per capita donors, providing total support of $260 million.
Ambassador Thunborg (center) with Southeast Asia Trade Commissioner Emil Akander (second from left), Deputy Chief of Mission Tobias Settergren (third from left) and Swedish Embassy staff.
The Swedish Embassy has held webinars with the Philippine College of Physicians to promote confidence in the Covid-19 vaccine. In addition, the Swedish team also organized booster vaccination campaigns. IKEA organized one for co-workers with the help of AstraZeneca and the local government of the city of Pasay.
Swedish companies in the Philippines support and encourage the surge, as it helps prevent surging cases, overcrowding of hospitals and closures. Indeed, it will help to return to work and school. Volvo Cars, H&M, Retail Associates, AstraZeneca and Transcom have corporate vaccination and booster programs, with 90-100% of their employees fully boosted.
“By gaining the support of our Swedish companies, we hope this initiative will improve the confidence of other companies and employees in vaccines,” said Ambassador Annika Thunborg.
(L to R) Senior Adviser for Go Negosyo Josephine Romero, Ambassador Thunborg, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Myrna Cabotaje and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jaime Ledda.
“CSR has always been important, but in light of the global crises we are facing, the pandemic, Russian aggression against Ukraine and the climate crisis, it is important to build back better, greener and more inclusive, leaving no one behind and building resiliently and sustainably for future generations,” continued Ambassador Thunborg.
Swedish companies like Atlas Copco, ABB, Ericsson, Volvo Buses, SKF, Swedish Match and Tetra Pak focus their CSR efforts on sustainability and environmental protection.
In 2022, Sweden and the Philippines commemorate 75 years of diplomatic relations. The strong bilateral relationship between the two countries is characterized by the unwavering support they have shown for the Charter of the United Nations, as well as international law and international humanitarian law over the years. Ambassador Thunborg envisions the two countries moving forward together, in cooperation with the private and public sectors, with non-governmental organizations, academia and civil society, and with the European Union, the United Nations and ASEAN.
This year, Sweden’s National Day took place at IKEA Pasay City, the largest IKEA store in the world. The venue has been decorated to look like a Swedish summer garden. The menu consisted of Swedish staples with a Filipino twist to emphasize the cultural ties between the two countries. Princess Ybañez, a fusion violinist, played classic renditions of hits from Swedish music icons – ABBA, Avicii and Swedish House Mafia.
To further commemorate Sweden’s National Day and the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations, the iconic Mall of Asia Globe has been decorated in Swedish colors – blue and yellow.