Palace believes COVID-19 response effective despite poor PH ranking by Bloomberg

Published December 1, 2021, 2:09 PM

by Betheena Unite

Despite the Philippines’ stagnant coronavirus disease (COVID-19) resilience ranking, Malacañang believes that the new measures enforced in November enabled the country to “effectively manage COVID-19 risks while providing for an environment conducive to economic growth”.

Thousands of Zamboanga residents troop to a barangay multipurpose hall for the first day of Bayanihan Bakunahan on November 29, 2021. (Zambo LGU photo/Manila Bulletin)

Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles in a statement said that the data provided by Bloomberg in its COVID-19 Resilience Ranking may be useful in evaluating the government’s pandemic response.

Based on the Bloomberg report, the Philippines remains at the bottom of a list of 53 countries, with a 43.1 resilience score.

Nograles explained that the indicators used by Bloomberg include reopening progress, COVID-19 status, and quality of life.

“However, we have to consider that the 53 countries in the report have different COVID-19 experiences and strategies. There is little consideration for country-specific COVID-19 context, which in our view is imperative to objectively assess how countries managed pandemic response,” the Cabinet Secretary said.

He said a case in point is the importance given by Bloomberg to reopening progress, which involves lockdown severity, flight capacity, and vaccinated travel routes.

“The evidence shows that the Alert Level System (ALS) and the granular lockdowns that we implemented in November 2021 are some of the key interventions that have enabled us to effectively manage COVID-19 risks while providing for an environment conducive to economic growth,” he stressed.

Nograles pointed out that new daily cases of COVID-19 continue to fall with only 425 cases tallied on Nov. 30 ––the lowest reported in 2021; the latest positivity rate of 2.1 percent is one of the lowest since testing data became available in April 2020; and the 1.71 percent case fatality rate remains one of the lowest, with the Philippines ranked 84th in the world by the Johns Hopkins University.

He added that there is no overcrowding in hospitals, with metrics of hospital care utilization rate registering all below 30 percent as of Nov. 30, 2021. Meanwhile, the country recently placed fifth highest in terms of single-day vaccination worldwide, with 2.5 million doses administered Tuesday, Nov. 30, during the first day of the ongoing national vaccination drive.

Nograles also noted that the Philippine economy grew 7.1 percent in the third quarter.

“We reiterate that our goal is to strike a balance between the management of COVID-19 and the safe reopening of the economy––to protect lives and secure livelihoods. Having said this, our economic team will continue to put a greater emphasis on our country-specific conditions or context in order to craft policies that are more responsive to our people’s needs and the requisites of economic recovery,” he said.