Numbers do not lie

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide (The Freeman) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

There is an American mixed martial artist who is credited with the statement “Numbers don’t lie. Women lie. Men lie”. His name is Max Holloway. I am sure that when Mr. Holloway uttered these words, he was not referring to the monumental failure of the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. But Holloway could very well have tacked this label on our president because the numbers don’t lie.

 To be sure, let us talk in terms of numbers as we set forth the facts. The ASEAN is composed of 10 countries. Indonesia has the biggest population of about 265 million which is more than twice that of the estimated Philippine population of about 106 million. For every living Filipino, there are more than two Indonesians. As of last Monday, COVID-19 infected some 279,000 Indonesians. This means that for every 1,000 Indonesians, one among them got the disease. Our own Department of Health reported more than 300,000 Filipinos got sick with this China-originated virus to mean that out of about 350 Pinoys, one had the infection. Allow me to go back to the numbers - 265 million Indonesians, 270,000 got the virus, while in 106 million Filipinos, 300,000 got infected. That Filipino leader Duterte is performing very badly in the fight against the virus compared to Indonesian President Widodo, the numbers don’t lie.

 Vietnam is the ASEAN member country with third biggest population of about 95 million. The difference in the population of the Philippines and Vietnam is just about 10 million and so small that we can perhaps put them on somewhat equal demographic footing. Yet, despite this apparently small disparity, the numbers of their citizenry afflicted by the coronavirus reveal which government has succeeded in fighting the disease. The World Health Organization recorded only a little more than 1,000 Vietnamese sick with COVID-19 compared to 300,000 Filipinos infected by the virus. Somewhat like the phraseology we use above, only one out of 97,000 people in Vietnam was downed by this pandemic as against 1 out of 350 Filipinos. In fact, according to DOH records, the number of Philippine new cases in one day alone already tripled that of the total Vietnamese infections. Clearly, the numbers don’t lie that President Nguy?n Phú Tr?ng, is outperforming President Duterte.

Among the ASEAN nations, the Philippines, has the biggest number of COVID-19 cases and is the worst performer in preventing the spread of the disease. If we put a name behind this embarrassing data, that of President Duterte’s shall emerge. Whatever he has done has not steered our country out of harm’s way. Health experts claim that Duterte’s reliance upon Sec. Francisco Duque and some retired military generals is misplaced. The reasoning is that the policy directions of Duque et al have been exposed to be fundamentally flawed and so, the consequent moves are shown to be misdirected.

In the face of these harrowingly telling numbers, Duterte is in continued denial. He refuses to admit reality. I remember that one day, his trumpeter even jumped on the podium, raised his hands and claimed victory in reference to the struggle against the virulent spread of the virus. What a duet! It thus became understandably pathetic that when Vice President Leni Robredo, in a press conference, suggested positive ways to stop the infestation, the response of Malacañang was, like this column, off tangent.

 More than 5,000 Filipinos have so far died. While the proximate cause of their death is the coronavirus, the remote cause happens to be the management of our president. If anyone disagrees with this observation, let me recall Holloway: Numbers don’t lie.

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