It’s Not That Bad: Roque says WHO data showing PH has highest COVID-19 cases inaccurate

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque <i>Photo: Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang </i>
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque Photo: Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang

Malacañang Palace today disputed the data of the World Health Organization (WHO) which showed that the Philippines has the fastest-growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific region.

From June 17 to 23, there were 5,044 new cases in the Philippines, the highest among 19 countries in the region. However, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in his regular virtual media briefing that the number should be computed while taking into consideration the population of a given country.

Read: Transfer of volunteer doctors to Cebu City to push through despite protests

“The WHO said we have the fastest-growing number of cases in the entire Western Pacific region. Is this true? We beg to disagree. Of course, when we look at the increase in [coronavirus] cases it has to be in relation to your population. Why should we be compared to Singapore when Singapore only has 5 million people?” Roque said.

Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang video
Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang video

Roque said based on the government’s own computation, if the cases were divided on a per million population basis, India will rank on top, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines in sixth place.

But the presidential spokesman needs to fact-check his own presentation: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia are not categorized by the WHO as Western Pacific countries. India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh are under South-east Asia while Pakistan is classified as Eastern Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said today in an interview with cable channel ANC that it was natural for COVID-19 cases to increase because of the Philippines’ supposedly greater testing capacity.

The Department of Health yesterday reported that there are 34,803 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 1,236 deaths and 9,430 recoveries.


Paywall: You’re outta here, Coconuts stories are free for all

We have removed our paywall on all Coconuts stories. This does not mean the end of COCO+ Membership at all, but the value proposition is changing.

Rather than being a transactional subscription – whereby you pay for access to content – it is now a true membership program – whereby Coconuts stories are free for everyone but super-fans can monetarily support our independent journalism, and get added member benefits.

If you'd like to support Coconuts, you can become a COCO+ Member for as little as US$5 per year. Thank you!



Leave a Reply

Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

Send this to a friend