Look, we already know that, in terms of places you want to get caught in during the pandemic, the Philippines is somewhere between the Hellmouth and a cardboard box. It’s a sad but undeniable fact of life, given the economy’s continued recession and a less-than-stellar Covid-19 response.
It’s deeply disappointing—but not surprising—that, as Bloomberg announced that its Covid Resiliency Ranking now looks ahead to post-pandemic happy times, the Philippines has fallen even lower in the rankings.
“The biggest vaccination drive in history is enabling parts of the globe to abolish mask mandates, relax restrictions and dismantle border curbs, making the magnitude of reopening key to quality of life. Taming cases and deaths was once paramount, along with ensuring a robust health-care system. Now, the ability to essentially turn back the clock and return to pre-pandemic times is taking on an even greater significance,” explained the article’s authors, Jinshang Hong, Rachel Chang, and Kevin Varley.
“India, the Philippines and some Latin America countries rank lowest amid a perfect storm of variant-driven outbreaks, slow vaccination, and global isolation,” the article also reads.
This news has not pleased Department of Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, who complained in an interview with ABS-CBN that the ranking was “very unfair,” further adding that the criteria were skewed toward countries with high vaccination rates. “That’s very unfair and I am really pissed with this kasi hindi naman tama,” Duque said.
Duque also said that the Philippines was faring well in terms of factors like infection rates per population, and number of deaths. This does not appear to be tru, however. According to data published by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, the Philippines is among the top 20 countries with the most deaths proportionally to the total number of cases or population. With our Covid-19 pandemic death toll at 1.74% of total infections, we are ahead of India, whose fatality rate is at 1.3%.
In the meantime, Senator Risa Hontiveros today expressed her own displeasure at the health secretary’s reaction. “I think ang dapat talagang ma-piss off ay hindi yung health secretary, pero yung ating mga mamamayan. Sisisihin pa ba natin yung Bloomberg?” Hontiveros said in a different interview with ABS CBN. (“I think it’s the people who should get pissed off, not the health secretary. Are we really going to blame Bloomberg?”)
This article, Philippines ranks 52nd out of 53 countries in Bloomberg’s Covid Resiliency Ranking; Duque mad, Hontiveros even madder, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.