MANILA—"Hindi po kami nagpapabaya sa ating response."
(We are not neglecting our response.)
This is how the Department of Health responded to Bloomberg's COVID-19 resiliency ranking, which described the Philippines as still the worst place to be amid the pandemic.
While the agency welcomed Bloomberg's analysis, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the COVID-19 outbreak occurred in a context where the Philippines was facing issues in its health care system.
"Ang bawat bansa po may iba't iba tayong konteksto (Each country has different context). We cannot be compared to the United States, for example because even before the start of the pandemic, their health system (is already) robust na talaga 'yan," she said in a press briefing.
"We can't compare an apple with an orange," she later added.
At the onset of the pandemic, the Philippines only had few laboratories and quarantine facilities, Vergeire said. The country also relies on anti-virus jabs that are manufactured abroad, she added.
Vergeire said not all countries were included in Bloomberg's ranking.
For a second month in a row, the Philippines ranked last in a list of 53 countries in Bloomberg's latest monthly COVID-19 Resilience Ranking.
“While other Southeast Asian nations also continue to be ranked low among the 53 economies tracked, the Philippines fares among the worst on vaccine coverage, with just 26% of the population covered amid challenges in bringing shots to areas outside of the big cities,” it said.
The ranking is based on 12 data points related to virus containment, the economy and opening up, Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg, however, noted that the decreasing number of new COVID-19 cases was a positive development for the Philippines.
The top 5 countries in the resilience ranking are Ireland, Spain, UAE, Denmark and Finland. The US rose 2 spots, now placing at 26th.
Vergeire noted this kind of survey may affect the public's morale.
"Sana po hindi tayo naapektuhan ng ganito. Focus lang tayo sa ginagawa natin sa ating bansa. Tuloy pa rin po ang gagawin nating response at mas paiigtingin pa rin po natin," she said.
(I hope we don't get affected by this. Let's focus on our country. Let's continue our response and strengthen it more.)
The country's COVID-19 tally stood at 2,772,491 infections, with 3,694 fresh cases reported Thursday.
As of Oct. 27, there are 26,479,028 fully vaccinated individuals in the country. This is 34.33 percent of the government's target of 77 million population.