MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) on Friday said it is unfair for people to compare the Philippines to other countries on basis of which one is “more miserable.”
This after the Presidential Communications Operations Office confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a government news agency to emphasize that the Philippines was “faring better than other countries” after a memo leaked online.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque also said Thursday that while the Philippines has a high number of cases, it is ranking low when it comes to deaths.
During a virtual briefing on Friday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said she would prefer that the Philippines be compared to countries that are doing better than to those that are not doing well.
“Fair din ba dun sa country na yun na kinukumpara tayo sa kanila?” she said. “Kinocompare mo by 100,000 population for example ang namamatay sa atin compared sa namamatay sa ibang bansa.”
(Is it fair to that country that they are being compared to us? YOu are comparing by 100,000 population for example those who had died in the Philippines to those who died in other countries.)
“Parang di siya katanggap-tanggap for us and even for the other countries na kinokompara tayo. Parang pinapakita mo sino mas miserable sa ating dalawa,” she added.
(It’s unacceptable for us and even for other countries to be compared like that. When you’re showing which country is more miserable.)
Vergeire said technically comparing countries is acceptable, especially in the academic setting since it is used to monitor and evaluate performance. However, she said it would be better to just compare countries based on their successes.
“Now when it comes to comparing ourselves to those countries which have successful implementation, wala namang problema. We adopt the best practices from other countries actually na nakikita natin uy maganda yung ginawa.”
(Now when it comes to comparing ourselves to those countries which have successful implementation, that’s not a problem. We adopt the best practices from other countries actually that we see are doing good.)
“We compare that so can see trends, we can see progress and we can see what needs to be done,” she added.
The Philippines is still struggling with a high number of COVID-19 cases and the relatively slow rollout of vaccines due to a global supply problem.
The country reached a total of 1 million COVID-19 cases this week.