Palace downplays Philippines safety ranking

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang downplayed yesterday the Global Finance Magazine report that put the Philippines at the bottom of its list of the world’s safest countries in 2021.

Contrary to the report, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Philippine government has been doing its best to ensure the safety of Filipinos.

“The opinion of Global Finance is but one among many varied points of view. While it is given that the Philippines is prone to natural hazards owing to its geographical location in the Pacific rim as well as due to climate change, our disaster management system continues to improve. The Filipino people are also growing more resilient and adaptive,” he said.

“We are not at war, and since the start of the strict implementation of community quarantine in March 2020, there was a significant decline in crimes per the Philippine National Police,” Roque added.

Global Finance Magazine cited war and peace, personal security, natural disaster and COVID-19 as risk factors in the safety scores of countries.

The Philippines received a score of 14.8999, placing it last among 134 countries, below Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Guatemala and Colombia.

The pandemic reshuffled the rankings of world’s safest countries but it did not improve the rankings of worst-performing countries such as the Philippines, Global Finance Magazine said.

Roque disputed the report, citing a local survey which said that 86 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with how the administration is addressing the pandemic.

“On COVID-19, it is noteworthy to mention that 86 percent of Filipinos are satisfied with the Duterte administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as shown by Pulse Asia December 2020 survey,” he said.

Despite delays in the delivery of vaccines in Manila, Roque said the country’s quest for population protection against COVID-19 remains achievable.

“In addition, we are on track in achieving our target of population protection in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces by November this year as long as the supply of vaccines remains stable,” he said.

As of July 7, Roque reported that 12, 489, 777 doses have been administered, citing data from the National COVID-19 Vaccination Operations Center.

“Our COVID-19 mortality rate remains one of the lowest at 1.76 percent, as of July 8, 2021,” he said, adding that the government is “therefore optimistic that things would be better with more and more people getting vaccinated, coupled with our strict implementation of the prevention-detection-isolation-treatment-and reintegration strategy.”

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