MANILA - Throwing his fist in the air, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said Tuesday the country has "beat" the prediction of University of the Philippines researchers that there would be 40,000 COVID-19 cases by the end of June.
The Philippines, which has confirmed 36,438 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, is not expected to reach the predicted 40,000 cases by Tuesday since it only has 1,000 in backlogs, Roque said.
A research group from UP earlier said that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country may potentially reach 40,000 by the end of June.
"Wala pong katotohanan 'yung 10,000 [backlogs], 1,000 plus na lang po ang ating backlog which means we did not hit 40,000 or we will not hit 40,000 by end of June," he said in a Palace press briefing.
(It's not true that we have 10,000 backlogs. We only have more than 1,000 in backlogs which means that we did not hit or we will not hit 40,000 by end of June.)
The Palace spokesman then realized that it was the last day of June and threw his fist in the air in celebration.
"Today is the last day na pala. Ano bang sinasabi ko. Wala na po, panalo na tayo! We beat the UP prediction po. We beat it so congratulations, Philippines! Let's do it again in July," he said.
(What am I saying. We already won! We beat the UP prediction.)
While the Philippines has confirmed 36,438 COVID-19 cases, data from the Department of Health shows that it has already 46,272 positive tests for the virus.
Positive tests still have to undergo validation before being listed as confirmed cases.
Activist Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan criticized Roque's remarks as "grossly misinformed" as he noted that the government has yet to maximize its 50,000 daily COVID-19 testing capacity.
"The self-congratulations is grossly misinformed and intellectually dishonest," Reyes said in a statement.
"Roque's claims are false. He offers no proof of this '1,000 backlog'," he added.
Reyes said that "beating UP's prediction" serves no real purpose.
"Gloating over a patently false claim of 'beating UP's prediction' serves no real purpose. It will not bring down the infections. It only serves the desire of government to cover-up its major blunders," he said.
For the month of July, UP researchers predicted that the number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines may go past 60,000 by the end of the month.
Malacañang had assured the public that the government is "in control" of the COVID-19 situation in the country, claiming that the Philippines is "winning" the pandemic fight.
The government on June 1 eased quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and other hotspots to revive the economy, even as the number of cases continued to rise.
The President is expected to announce Tuesday updates on the quarantine status of various cities and regions in the country.