PopCom: With 879,000 dead, 2021 is Philippines' deadliest year ever

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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 21: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death.) Cemetery workers place the corpse of someone who died of Covid-19 in an incinerator, at a public crematorium on April 21, 2021 in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines. With more than 879,000 people dead, PopCom says 2021 is the deadliest year in Philippine history. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)
MANILA, PHILIPPINES - APRIL 21: (EDITORS NOTE: Image depicts death.) Cemetery workers place the corpse of someone who died of Covid-19 in an incinerator, at a public crematorium on April 21, 2021 in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines. With more than 879,000 people dead, PopCom says 2021 is the deadliest year in Philippine history. (Photo by Ezra Acayan/Getty Images)

The Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), using data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), announced that 2021 had the most number of deaths recorded in history at 879,000.

In the Philippines, most of the deaths came from the regions of CALABARZON at 138,298, Central Luzon at 113,217, and the National Capital Region (NCR) at 105,178 while the least deaths came from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at 6,662, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) at 13,241, and MIMAROPA at 22,934. 226 Filipinos died abroad.

In terms of months, plurality of the figure came from the months of September (119,758), August (97,880), and October (84,428). The months of February (53,861), December (56,502), and November (58,202) had the least number of deaths.

More males died than females, the former at 491,024 while the latter at 388,405.

Undersecretary Juan Antonio Perez III, PopCom executive director, said September had the most number of deaths in 2021 when a total of 119,758 Filipinos died in September 2021. This translates to 3,992 deaths daily or almost three deaths per minute during that month.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death that year at 105,723, or around 12.02 percent of the total deaths recorded by the agency. It was preceded by ischaemic heart diseases (136,575) and cerebrovascular diseases (74,262).

“Many of the diseases that caused increased mortality are preventable at the primary level of care, but the health system was not flexible enough to treat and care for both COVID and non-COVID patients,” Perez said.

“On the other hand, the decrease in cancer-related deaths was most likely due to the lack of tertiary level of diagnostic and therapeutic care, as COVID cases crowded out actual and undiagnosed cancer patients.”

In contrast to 2020 which had 613,936 registered deaths, there was a 43.24 percent increase for 2021.

Malnutrition deaths rose by 47% while deaths from various forms of cancers fell by 10.3%.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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