Galvez: Calling PH worst place to be during pandemic a 'biased comment'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 28) — The country's vaccine czar says it’s unfair to call the Philippines the "worst place to be" during the pandemic.

Compared to the response of other countries, COVID-19 National Task Force chief implementer Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said the Philippines never had issues like running out of crematoriums and oxygen supply.

"We responded," he said at a briefing following the arrival of donated vaccines Thursday. "Definitely saying that it is the worst place to be in COVID, I think it's...ano 'yon [that], it's a biased comment."

A Bloomberg report released on Wednesday said the country placed last for the second straight month among 53 nations in terms of resilience and response to the global health crisis.

Bloomberg noted that while the outbreak in Southeast Asia may have peaked and vaccination has improved, many of the region's nations are "still reeling" from the surge caused by the Delta variant.

Galvez also questioned why only a few countries were included in the report.

"Ang nakikita natin...we have more than 204 countries around the world, ‘yun ang question natin, bakit hindi kasama ‘yung other countries, they have only selected 53," Galvez Jr. said at a briefing f.

[Translation: What we're seeing is that there are more than 204 countries around the world, the question is why the other countries were not included and they have only selected 53.]

He added that at least three to six months of the epidemic curve should be considered in the evaluation.

"Kung makikita sa ngayon [If you look at it now], if they will concentrate on the cases that we have, ngayon lang tayo nakaka-recover [we are just starting to recover] and we expect they will punish us in terms of the evaluations of the different criteria that they use," he said.

In the briefing, Galvez noted that Bloomberg's report was focused on the economy, adding that the assessment should be measured with other criteria.

"I believe ‘yung kanila [I believe theirs] is more on the economic terms. We believe the COVID-19 response should be measured totally...Meron tayong tinatawag na apat na parameters: one is death, second is recovery and treatment, third is ‘yung number of cases and active cases, and last is ‘yung economic recovery," he said.

Despite the ranking, Galvez said he was not too concerned about the Bloomberg report, as the country's response is focused on saving lives, as well as the economy.

Galvez added that he believes the country will have a better rating in November.