MANILA— Malacañang on Wednesday said an international index that ranked the Philippines last in terms of economic resilience to disruptions brought by the pandemic had "little consideration for country-specific COVID-19 context."
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that while data provided by Bloomberg's COVID-19 Resilience Ranking "may be useful in evaluating our pandemic response," the 53 countries in the report "have different COVID-19 experiences and strategies."
"There is little consideration for country-specific COVID-19 context, which in our view is imperative to objectively assess how countries managed pandemic response," he said in a statement.
Nograles said Bloomberg gave importance to reopening progress, which involves lockdown severity, flight capacity, and vaccinated travel routes.
But he said the COVID-19 alert level system and granular lockdowns that the Philippines recently implemented "enabled us to effectively manage COVID-19 risks while providing for an environment conducive to economic growth."
Nograles noted active cases fell to 425 on Tuesday, the lowest reported in 2021. The positivity rate, he added, was at 2.1 percent, one of the lowest since testing data became available in April last year.
The Philippines' 1.71 percent case fatality rate remains one of the lowest, and "there is no overcrowding in our hospitals," said the official.
Nograles added that the Philippine economy grew 7.1 percent in the third quarter.
"We reiterate that our goal is to strike a balance between the management of COVID-19 and the safe reopening of the economy–– to protect lives and secure livelihoods," Nograles said.
"Having said this, our Economic Team will continue to put greater emphasis on our country-specific conditions or context in order to craft policies that are more responsive to our people’s needs and the requisites of economic recovery," he continued.
The Philippines has been dealing with one of Asia's worst COVID-19 outbreaks and its vaccine rollout has been slower than many neighbors, with just over a third of its 109 million population inoculated.
Government this week launched a 3-day drive that aimed to vaccinate 9 million people.
The country has yet to detect a case of the heavily mutated Omicron variant, which has sparked global travel restrictions and rattled financial markets.
— With a report from Reuters