The Daily Manila Shimbun


Palace disputes WHO data; says Philippines doing right steps vs COVID-19

June 29, 2020

Malacañang refuted on Monday the World Health Organization's data that the Philippines has the fastest increase in coronavirus cases in the Western Pacific region as it insisted the Duterte administration is doing the right steps to address the health crisis.

In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Philippines should not even be compared with Singapore, considering that the former has bigger population.

"Now, according to WHO, we have the fastest rise in the number of cases in the entire Western Pacific region. Is this true? We beg to disagree. Of course, if we are going to look at the rise in cases, that should be in relation to population. Why are we going to be compared to Singapore. Singapore has only five million (population). It's only one city, it's not even comparable with the cities of Quezon and Manila," he said.

He noted that if to divide the cases per million population, India would have the highest number in Western Pacific region at 549,197; followed by Pakistan; Bangladesh 137,787; Indonesia 54,010; Singapore 43,459; Philippines 35,455.

With such data, Roque expressed belief that the government is doing the right thing in addressing the crisis.

"Because of the findings, we are very confident that we have done the correct steps and again, I am saying, we are not perfect, but I think we did the best that we can do under the circumstance," he stressed.

Clarifying that India and Pakistan are not part of Western Pacific region as classified by WHO, Roque said, "Well, I'm not going to go nitpicking on this but as far as I know, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are still Asian countries."

He also hit those criticizing the government on its COVID-19 response, including the placing of some parts of the country under lockdown, saying if not because of President Rodrigo Duterte's action,  COVID-19 cases in the country could have  reached three million as projected before by health experts, including those from the University of the Philippines.

"If we did not make these steps, our COVID cases now could have reached over three million," he said.

As of Monday, the Department of Health reported that coronavirus infection has increased to 36,438, with 9,956 recoveries and 1,255 deaths. Celerina Monte/DMS