Palace 'not surprised' by PH's dismal COVID resilience ranking; here's why

Published September 29, 2021, 3:26 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque recalled President Duterte’s tirade against wealthy countries during the latter’s recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) following the Philippines’ dismal last place finish in Bloomberg’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Resilience Rankings.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (Screenshot from Facebook live)

The Philippines was ranked 53rd out of 53 countries, giving it the unenviable title of worst country to be in in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic–at least according to Bloomberg’s report.

“We take note of Bloomberg’s latest COVID-19 Resilience Ranking report, which is based on indicators such as quality of healthcare, vaccination coverage, severity of lockdowns and restrictions, progress on restarting travel and easing border curbs, among others,” Roque said in a statement on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

“We are not surprised that the Philippines, together with other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam are at the bottom of the list while countries which topped the list are developed countries such as Ireland, Spain, Netherlands, Finland and Denmark,” he said, offering some perspective on the rankings

“Vaccines are key towards defeating COVID -19. Unfortunately, as President Rodrigo Roa Duterte articulated in the United Nations, ‘Rich countries hoard life-saving vaccines, while poor nations wait for trickles,'” noted Roque.

The Palace official said the Philippines is a “classic case in point, where inoculation is highly dependent on the availability and stability of vaccine supplies”.

In his speech during the first day of the High-Level General Debate of the 76th Session of the UNGA last Sept. 22, Duterte condemned this vaccine-hoarding as “a selfish act that can neither be justified rationally nor morally”.

But Roque highlighted that the Philippines—“in many numerous occasions”–has advanced its position on the universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, “for the plain fact that the pandemic will not end unless the coronavirus is defeated everywhere through vaccination”.

This, again, echoed Duterte’s statements before the UNGA.

“In addition, this resilience ranking is in line with the notion of total health, which we personally advocated, where the re-opening of more industries and businesses allowing more people to return to their livelihood must be balanced with improving the country’s healthcare system capacity,” Roque said.