Palace rejects ‘PH COVID-19 capital’ tag; urges public to watch foreign news

Published March 29, 2021, 3:12 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang took exception to a comic strip that labeled the Philippines as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) capital of the world, urging the public to watch foreign news to see that other countries are also facing a spike in new cases.

Members of the Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP HPG), with the Las Piñas police, conduct a checkpoint of commuters traveling via public jeepneys along Radial Road 2 near the Alabang Zapote flyover in Las Piñas City (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after online news outfit Rappler published an editorial comic strip that depicted a young girl waking up from a nightmare where the Philippines is labeled as COVID-19 capital of the world because it is the only country left with COVID-19 cases.

In his Monday presser, Roque protested the comic strip, saying the Philippines is still ranked 30th among countries with the most coronavirus infections.

“Hindi po totoo na COVID capital tayo (It’s not true that we are the COVID-19 capital),” he said about the fictional cartoon.

Based on data from the Johns Hopkins University, the Philippines is the 30th country in the world with the most number of COVID-19 infections with 721,892 cases as of March 29.

World Health Organization (WHO) data showed that the Philippines is in 22nd place in terms of the number of active cases with 105,568.

The Philippines is ranked 134th in the number of cases per one million population, and 82nd in terms of case fatality rate at 1.8 percent based on WHO data.

In his press briefing, Roque stressed that the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country is due to the virus’s new variants.

He urged the public to watch foreign news to see that other countries in the world are also facing the same dilemma. 

“Buong mundo po may problema sa new variant, hindi tayo nag-iisa (The entire world has problems with the new variant. We are not alone),” Roque said.

“Kinakailangan, ‘wag lang lokal na telebisyon ang panoorin niyo, panoorin niyo rin po ang CNN at ang BBC nang makita niyo na ang dami na ring bansa sa daigdig ngayon ang nagla-lockdown (You should not just watch local TV but watch CNN and BBC as well so you will see that many countries are also imposing lockdowns),” he added.

The Greater Manila Area is under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 4 to address the country’s skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases.