Gov’t welcomes Philippines’ jump in COVID-19 ranking after discrediting it before

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Govât welcomes Philippinesâ jump in COVID-19 ranking after discrediting it before
A teenage boy receives a BioNtech-Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during the inoculation of the population aged 12 to 17 at a stadium in San Juan City, suburban Manila on November 3, 2021.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The government is now changing tune on the global COVID-19 rankings by Tokyo-based news magazine Nikkei after the Philippines jumped 46 spots to the 57th place on the list.

Government officials had largely discredited the Nikkei COVID-19 Recovery Index when the Philippines was at the bottom of the listing and refused to acknowledge potential missteps in their handling of the pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had said that the reason why the Philippines tanked in the list was supposedly due to the rankings only considering the time when the country was just experiencing a surge in cases while infections in other countries have peaked.

But with the Philippines leaping in the rankings, they are now welcoming its results without much question.

“This is good news that our ranking improved by 46 notches,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in Filipino over state-run People’s Television.

For acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles, the Philippines’ improvement in the Nikkei listing is a “clear indication that we have successfully contained the highly transmissible Delta variant.”

"Our numbers look good, so this means our intervention and policies are working," he said.

It is not the first time that government officials used global COVID-19 rankings when it fits the narrative that the Philippines has managed infections well.

Back in August, then presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, who is now running for a Senate seat, used the Nikkei ranking to show that supposedly the Philippines was among the leading countries in Southeast Asia when it comes to responding to COVID-19.

“This is an international survey and study, probably we cannot deny that we are doing everything we can to manage COVID-19, and we are leading in our region,” Roque said in Filipino.

Roque, of course, would later on pirouette when the Philippines sank in the list.

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