MANILA (UPDATE) - The COVID-19 resiliency ranking of Bloomberg where the Philippines again ranked last is "practically unfair" and "biased towards Western countries," Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Thursday as the country again ranked last.
National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and Vaccine Czar Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. echoed Malaya's sentiment.
For a second month in a row, the Philippines placed last in a list of 53 countries that were ranked based on 12 data points related to virus containment and reopening of the economy.
"We feel the Bloomberg resilience data is practically unfair to our country. Number 1, it doesn't cover all countries... It’s unfair to characterize our country as lowest because we're not lowest in the world, we're just lowest among those 25 countries utilized by Bloomberg," Malaya told ANC's Headstart.
"Our beef with the Bloomberg rating is primarily of their criteria. The countries they chose were mostly Western countries, which puts us at a disadvantage...We just started our universal healthcare. Di talaga tayo tataas d'yan. We're a developing country... and the quality of life is also considered. In my opinion, it’s really a biased survey towards Western countries."
The index also does not have updated data, Malaya said.
"We’re now seeing good cases, possibly less than 2,000 by end of November. We've had a 48 percent decline in cases for the past 2 weeks and our vaccination has been tremendous: 30 million first dose and almost 26 million second dose. And our supply has improved by 100 million," he said.
"I would expect an improvement in the ranking by next month."
The study was conducted at a time when the Philippines was battling the effects of the more infectious Delta variant, while other countries experienced it earlier and were already recovering, Galvez said for his part.
“Hindi kasi sabay-sabay ang epidemic curve ng countries… ‘Pag tinamaan ka na nasa peak ka, talagang nandoon sa pinaka-restricted, naka-lockdown ka, closed ang airport, closed ang different interzonal travel natin, and even our businesses closed during the height,” he said.
(Countries' epidemic curves are not synchronized. If the country is at the peak, it will go on lockdown, airports and different interzonal travel will be closed, and even our businesses closed during the height.)
“Saying na (that) it is the worst place to be in COVID, it’s a biased comment, considering that in every peak in every country, that’s the worst place you will be,” he added.
Galvez said that in terms of preventing COVID-related deaths, the Philippines responded better compared to some countries.
“To be fair, we were able to fight with Delta na at least hindi tayo naubusan gaano ng oxygen… Unlike other countries na talagang nawalan sila ng oxygen, nawalan sila ng crematorium, sinusunog nila ang mga patay nila,” he said.
(To be fair, we were able to fight with Delta without running out of oxygen... unlike other countries that lacked oxygen, crematorium, and resorted to burning their dead.)
As with Malaya, Galvez is optimistic also that the Philippines will improve its COVID resiliency ranking before the year ends.
“If the parameter will be in the coming November and December, maybe we will have a higher rating,” he said.
“Our response is concentrated more on saving lives and saving the economy,” he added.
The country is now classified as "low-risk" for COVID-19 following a decline in fresh cases over the past few weeks, the Department of Health earlier said.
It reported 3,218 new infections on Wednesday, the lowest in more than 5 months, pushing its total cases to 2,768,849.
--With reports from Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News