President Rodrigo Duterte told his propaganda team to inform Filipinos that the country is supposedly doing better than other nations in its COVID-19 fight, an official of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said yesterday.
This confirmation comes after a memo circulated online yesterday, where PCOO Undersecretary George Apacible told his staff that “all government media platforms” should provide COVID data about other countries to show that the Philippines is “faring better.”
Director Virginia Arcilla-Agtay of the PCOO Integrated News Team said the memo is authentic, and merely reflects Duterte’s instructions.
“Yes, there is a memo directing us to give updates on world data regarding COVID-19 and to convey that we are faring better than other countries,” Agtay said in a statement.
She added that the president “has given the instruction in order to provide adequate information and convey working policies, particularly those that aim to address the effects of the pandemic in the country.”
“There is nothing wrong with this, nor is it a lie, it is simply amplifying facts,” she said.
“And here are the facts: Regionally and globally, we have achieved a reputable and efficient response to the virus as compared to some developed, more advanced, and less densely-populated countries,” she said.
Agtay said that based on the data provided by OCTA Research Group, the virus’ reproduction number has gone down while the country ranks fourth in Southeast Asia in terms of the number of vaccine doses given. Her statement, however, does not paint a complete picture. About 100 Filipinos die each day of COVID, many of whom have had to jump from one hospital to another just to seek medical care. Facilities are running out of manpower, medicines, and beds, and some people had even perished in hospital parking lots and tents without being treated by medical professionals.
On top of that, only 0.2% of the population has been vaccinated, or about 247,000. The National Capital Region alone has a population of at least 13 million.
As of today, there are a total of 1,020,495 COVID cases recorded in the country, including 17,031 deaths. The Duterte administration has started inoculating health workers, senior citizens, and people with comorbidities but admitted that it has a hard time procuring vaccines due to global supply issues.
This article, Spin King? Duterte wants people to know PH doing well in COVID fight, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.