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Palace on Philippines ranking worst in COVID-19 resilience: Not all countries were surveyed

Malacañang on Thursday maintained that the Philippines is not the worst when it comes to COVID-19 resilience, saying that the Bloomberg report did not include all the countries in the world.

"May 194 countries po sa mundo, 53 lang ang sinurvey. Hindi tayo huli sa buong mundo, huli lang tayo sa mga pinag-aralan (There are 194 countries in the world but only 53 were surveyed. We are not the last in the world, we just ranked last among those surveyed)," Roque said.

Roque, however, conceded that the country's resiliency is hugely affected by quarantine restrictions, including lockdowns, that the government implemented to curb transmission of COVID-19 amid the emergence of the more infectious Delta variant.

"Where we can agree is it was a test of economic resiliency, so everytime there is lockdown and our economy closes, nawawala ang resilience  (the resilience is not there)," Roque added.

Bloomberg's COVID-19 Resilience report included the 53 biggest economies in the world and the countries were ranked based on virus containment, healthcare quality, vaccination coverage, overall mortality and progress toward restarting travel and easing border curbs.

Roque earlier said that results of the Bloomberg report was expected, given that wealthy countries hoarded the COVID-19 vaccine supply.

The Bloomberg report, however, noted that the Philippines only tends to test the sickest for COVID-19, leaving so many asymptomatic cases undetected.

Roque maintained that the country's testing effort is enough.

Roque said the government is testing around 80,000 a day which is worth P160 million a day, but records from the Health Department only showed that the number of individuals tested for COVID-19 in a day for the month of September ranged from 51,000 to 79,000 a day only.

"What we do is risk-based testing covering those with symptoms and COVID-19 exposure," he said. "We do not claim to be perfect, but we have to give credit to where it is due." — RSJ, GMA News