MANILA — Malacañang on Monday denied deceiving the public into thinking that the Philippine COVID-19 vaccination drive is faring better than its Southeast Asian neighbors.
Several officials have repeatedly said that the Philippines belonged to the region's top 5 countries with the most COVID-19 shots administered.
However, the independent "Our World in Data" tracker by the prestigious University of Oxford showed that the Philippines ranked 9th out of 11 Southeast Asian nations, in terms of the percentage of population vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
The government is "certainly not" misleading the public because the same tracker includes the number of vaccine doses actually administered by countries, said Palace spokesman Harry Roque.
"Wala pong pagkakamali doon (there is no mistake there). It's just 2 ways of looking at the numbers. One is absolute number, and we remain second. There is no deception," he said in a press briefing.
"And another is percentage number that depends on your population... There is absolutely no deception when you use absolute numbers."
Singapore has the region's highest percentage of vaccinated population at about 32 percent, according to the tracker. Meanwhile, the Philippines has vaccinated about 1.5 percent of its people.
Roque noted that Singapore has a smaller population than the Philippines' 110 million people.
"The vaccination program is dependent primarily on supply, and there is a global supply problem," said Vince Dizon, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force Against COVID-19.
"But what the government has shown is that when the supply comes, we use it to vaccinate as fast and as many of our countrymen has possible."
The Philippines has taken delivery of at least 12.7 million COVID-19 shots. Authorities have administered some 6.3 million of these jabs.
With the second highest COVID-19 case tally in Southeast Asia, the Philippines aims to vaccinate at least 58 million people this year.
Video courtesy of PTV