MANILA - Filipinos are divided on the accuracy of government's data on COVID-19 patients, according to an independent Social Weather Stations survey released Thursday.
Of 1,249 adult Filipinos surveyed, 39 percent said they believe the country's COVID-19 tally was "probably more than the real number," while 31 percent said it was "probably less than the real number" and 23 percent said it was "probably right."
The September 17 to 20 poll also found "no census" on the accuracy of the health department's data on COVID-19 deaths. Some 34 percent of respondents said it was probably over-reported, another 34 percent said it was probably underreported and 27 percent said it was probably right.
An analysis of COVID-19 data in the Philippines showed more than 15,600 cases were announced a month or much later after patients exhibited symptoms according to the study of the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group (IRG) released earlier this month.
In May, University of the Philippines researchers flagged discrepancy in government data, citing "continuing mismatch" between the Department of Health (DOH) and local governments' numbers of COVID-19 patients and "alarming errors" in patient data.
The discrepancy may have been due to a delay in the verification process of COVID-19 cases, a researcher said.
Belief in COVID-19 data lowest in Metro Manila
The number of those who consider accurate the reported number of COVID-19 cases was lowest in Metro Manila at 14 percent, followed by 23 percent in Balance Luzon, 24 percent in Visayas, and 31 percent in Mindanao.
The reported number of COVID-19 deaths is also seen as least accurate by those in Metro Manila at 20 percent, followed by Balance Luzon at 26 percent, and Visayas and Mindanao at 29 percent each.
The COVID-19 tally is seen as less accurate by more educated groups, the lowest among college graduates (18 percent) and junior high school graduates (22 percent) compared with non-elementary graduates (26 percent) and elementary graduates (31 percent).
Those who consider data on COVID-19 deaths to be "probably right," was highest among elementary graduates at 31 percent, followed by junior high school graduates at 26 percent, college graduates at 23 percent, and non-elementary graduates at 21 percent.
The survey was conducted using mobile and computer-assisted telephone interviewing as the pandemic persisted. It had a sampling error margin of ±3 percent for national percentages.
The Philippines as of Wednesday reported 375,180 cases of COVID-19, of which 38,955 were considered active, 329,111 were recoveries and 7,114 were fatalities.
It may tally up to 480,000 cases by end of November, according to UP Professor Guido David.