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‘Let’s stop comparing,’ DOH prods public as PH named world’s least safe country

/ 05:13 PM July 09, 2021
‘Let’s stop comparing,’ DOH prods public as PH named world's least safe country

FILE PHOTO: In this December 21, 2020, photo, a man and his companion wear face masks resembling the Philippine flag in Divisoria, Manila, as Palace announced that wearing of face shields along with face masks when out in public is still mandatory. INQUIRER file photo / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has appealed to the public to focus on the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines and stop comparing the government’s actions to other countries’ responses to the pandemic.

This comes after the Philippines ranked last among 134 countries assessed for their safeness in terms of war and peace, personal security, and natural disaster risk, including factors stemming from COVID-19.

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“Ang kailangan po at importante po sa atin ngayon bagama’t bukas tayo sa mga surveys na ito (even though we are open to these surveys, what is important is), let’s focus on our country, let’s focus on what we can do to help our country. Let’s focus on the response that we are doing here right now,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in an online media briefing Friday.

Vergeire even pointed out that the Philippines is prone to natural disasters that are beyond the government’s control.

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“Talagang ganoon, nandito po tayo sa PIlipinas, at ang Philippines talaga ay prone to natural disasters, but you cannot rank me or rank the Philippines the lowest because mayroon akong uncontrollable factors such as these natural disasters,” she explained.

(It’s natural. We are here in the Philippines. The Philippines is prone to natural disasters.)

“So that’s just what we are saying here. Ang sa atin lang (What we can say is), let’s stop comparing and just focus on what we are doing here in our country,” she added.

Vergeire further said the public should look at the context considered in the ranking and “take this with a grain of salt.”

“Ang bottom line lang po is ang sinasabi natin, let’s take this with a grain of salt. Pag-aralan maigi ano sinasabi ng datos. Tingnan natin kung bakit kinukumpara tayo sa ibang bansa with different settings and different circumstances,” she said.

(The bottom line of what we are saying is let’s take this with a grain of salt. Let’s consider what the data are saying. Let’s look at why we are being compared to other countries with different settings and circumstances.)

She then advised the public to be careful in interpreting these kinds of rankings and assured that the government considers accurate and rational points raised in global studies to improve the country’s pandemic response.

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The Philippines ranked at the bottom of  Global Finance’s list of the world’s safest countries this 2021.

Global Finance gave the Philippines a score of 14.8899, which is just a few decimal points higher than Colombia which ranked 133rd with a score of 14.8461. It noted that the higher a country’s score is, the lower it is in terms of ranking.

“Countries with serious civil conflict that have high risks from a natural disaster such as the Philippines, Nigeria, Yemen, and El Salvador all reported relatively low death tolls from COVID-19, yet performed poorly in terms of safety overall,” the publication said.

The Philippines was also ranked last in the international business magazine’s 2019 list which then evaluated 128 nations. – Sofia Vertucio, trainee

KGA

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