MANILA – The Philippines is winning the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Malacañang said Monday, after the country defied the number of cases projected by a University of the Philippines (UP) study.

“In terms of positivity rate, in terms of case-doubling rate, in case of mortality rate, we are winning. As, in fact, we defied what was predicted by the UP study,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.

Early this month, the University of the Philippines (UP) released a study predicting that the country’s Covid-19 cases would reach 40,000 by the end of June.

As of Monday (June 29), the country has 36,438 confirmed Covid-19 cases, 9,956 of whom have recovered and 1,255 have died, according to the Department of Health.

Roque also cited an initial UP study that the country’s coronavirus cases would have reached 3.6 million by June if no interventions were done.

“Ang sabi po ng UP, kung wala po tayong lockdown na ginawa eh ngayon po meron na tayo sanang 3.6 million cases ng Covid, 3.6 million! Saan po nagkulang ang Presidente? Ano pa po ang dapat ginawa nya? Naiwasan po ang 3.6 million cases ng Covid (According to UP, if we have not imposed lockdown, we have now 3.6 million cases of Covid. Where did the President fall short? What more does he have to do? We have prevented 3.6 million Covid-19 cases),” Roque said.

He said the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte is doing its best to manage the Covid-19 situation in the country.

“Hindi po tayo perpekto, siguro po talaga (We’re not perfect, perhaps) we could have done better. Pero narito na po tayo (But we’re here now) and one thing I can assure you, the President did the very best that he can and we are in control of the situation,” he said.

Don’t compare

Roque disputed the report of the World Health Organization (WHO) saying the country has the fastest-growing number of new Covid-19 cases among 22 countries in Western Pacific Region.

He echoed the Department of Health (DOH) saying it was not right WHO to compare the Philippines to countries with a smaller population such as Singapore.

“We beg to disagree. Bakit tayo ikukumpara sa Singapore eh ang Singapore 5 milyon lang po iyan. Isang siyudad lang po iyan, hindi pa siyudad ng Quezon City o Manila (Why should be compared to Singapore when they only have a 5 million population. That’s as good as one city, that’s not even the size of Quezon City or Manila),” he said.

Roque claimed that the Philippines only ranked sixth in the Western Pacific region if the cases were divided on a per million population basis with India topping the list followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Singapore.

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia are not part of the Western Pacific region based on the demographical classification of the WHO.

Pakistan is classified under the Eastern Mediterranean region while the three other countries are under the South-East Asia region, according to WHO.

Roque’s presentation ranked Covid-19 cases in the entire Asia instead of WHO’s category, Western Pacific Region.

However, he insisted that India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are still Asian countries.

He admitted that the national government could have done better in addressing Covid-19, but stressed that it took the right steps to slow down the spread of the deadly virus.

“To reiterate, nothing to be ashamed of in terms of density, we are not one in Western Pacific, pero sa akin hindi naman ito contest (but for me, it’s not a contest),” he said.

Earlier, the DOH said the Philippines should not be compared to other countries with different socioeconomic context like population, living conditions and health system capacity.

“Our socioeconomic context, particularly living conditions, as well as health system capacity, even prior to Covid, is different from Singapore. Please take that into account when we do our analysis. Let us not cherry pick the countries we want to compare ourselves to,” DOH said in a statement.

New classifications

Meanwhile, Roque said the President is expected to announce the new quarantine classifications in the country on Tuesday (June 30), Roque.

He said the President would address the public to announce the new quarantine rules that will be implemented nationwide beginning July 1.

“If I’m not mistaken, it will be tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the highest level of community quarantine, was imposed only in Cebu City until June 30.

A modified ECQ was implemented in Talisay City but later downgraded to general community quarantine (GCQ).

A GCQ was imposed in Metro Manila; the provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Tarlac, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Siquijor; and the cities of Santiago, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Zamboanga, and Davao.

The rest of the country remained under modified GCQ. (PNA)

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