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Bloomberg ranking says Philippines still ‘the worst place to be’ amid the pandemic, but DILG calls survey ‘unfair’

By Brooke Villanueva Published Oct 28, 2021 1:20 pm

Though there has been a decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, Bloomberg’s latest COVID resilience ranking, however, showed it’s still “the worst place to be” in this pandemic.

For the second month in a row, the Philippines ranked last in the list of 53 countries based on 12 data factors in line with virus containment, vaccination coverage, and mortality rate, among others.

“While other Southeast Asian nations also continue to be ranked low among the 53 economies tracked, the Philippines fares among the worst on vaccine coverage, with just 26% of the population covered amid challenges in bringing shots to areas outside of the big cities,” according to Bloomberg

The Philippines' COVID-19 restrictions in line with travel and ban on kids in public spaces have been described as “a reflection of the country’s conservative approach to reopening the economy amid concerns about its fragile healthcare system.” 

As of this writing, a total of 2,768,849 infections have been recorded in the country—with 50,152 active cases, 2,676,349 recoveries, and 42,348 deaths. After hitting record-high tallies in the past few months, Bloomberg acknowledged that the lower figures this month could be considered as a good development for the country. 

"The percentage of those testing positive for the virus has declined significantly from nearly one in three in September to about 12%, indicating the Philippines has a better handle on its outbreak than before and is catching cases. That could pave the way for more reopening going forward," explained the media giant.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam were also part of the bottom six. Some improvements have been seen in the region’s vaccination program and infection record, especially in Malaysia, but “many of these export-reliant economies are still reeling from Delta’s hit,” the company declared. 

European nations remain to at the top section of the list. Ireland, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, and Finland are, respectively, among the best places to be amid the coronavirus crisis. 

In response to Bloomberg’s findings, the Department of the Interior and Local Government called it an “unfair” report.

“Number one, it doesn’t cover all countries. It’s unfair to characterize our country as lowest because we’re not lowest in the world, we’re just lowest among those 25 countries utilized by Bloomberg,” DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in an interview on the ABS-CBN News Channel early today, Oct. 28, adding it's “a biased survey towards Western countries.” 

Malaya also questioned the data used in the survey, pointing out that it wasn't updated. “We’re now seeing good cases, possibly less than 2,000 by end of November. We've had a 48% decline in cases for the past two weeks and our vaccination has been tremendous: 30 million first dose and almost 26 million second dose. And our supply has improved by 100 million," he stressed.

"I would expect an improvement in the ranking by next month,” continued Malaya.