(SPOT.ph) Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque congratulated the Philippines today, June 30, not for beating the COVID-19 pandemic, but for "beating" predictions set by the University of the Philippines for the COVID-19 infection rate. It's not exactly what we hoped for but hey, we'll take what we can.
"Panalo na tayo!" exclaimed Roque during a briefing. Experts from the University of the Philippines earlier projected that we would meet the end of June with around 40,000 COVID-19 positive cases—which, according to Roque did not happen as his final number was at 36,438. The spokesperson also denied that the Department of Health had a backlog of around 10,000 samples to validate, saying that it was just at 1,000.
Based on the Department of Health's (DOH) situationer on June 29, the cumulative number of samples that have come back positive was at 46,272 with a recorded daily backlog of 3,068. Roque did not specify where his number of 1,000 pending test results was from.
But this isn't the first time the current Philippine administration has, er, proven an institution wrong. We list down the other times we faced an institution and disagreed.
World Health Organization
Roque recently countered data from the World Health Organization (WHO) showing that the Philippines recorded the fastest rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pacific. Cases jumped by 8,143 since June 16, faster than Singapore, China, and other countries in the region.
Said Roque, this wasn't true. "Kung titignan natin 'yong pagtaas ng kaso, dapat 'yan in relation to your population," he was quoted as saying in a press briefing. According to him, India had the highest rate, followed by Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Singapore, and finally, the Philippines at sixth place. The WHO lists Pakistan as part of the Eastern Mediterranean region, and India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, as part of the Southeast Asian region.
Mathematics is sure to be an institution of sorts—one of the oldest around. While the administration didn't actually take down math, the DOH clearly did not agree with the graphs produced by U.S.-based New England Complex Systems Institute. They plotted the progress of several countries in terms of their COVID-19 cases, with the number of days since first case on the x axis and daily number of cases on the y axis—showing that clearly, in early May, the Philippines still needed to take a lot of action.
Before these graphs were released, Dr. John Wong, an epidemiologist serving in the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, said on May 5 that "the curve has already flattened" in the country.
The United Nations
A United Nations Arbitral Tribunal decided in favor of the Philippines in a Hague court in July 2016 and stated that the nine-dash-line claim of China over the West Philippine Sea was baseless. Effectively, the West Philippine Sea is supposed to be ours.
In an incident at the Recto Bank in June 2019, a Chinese vessel crashed into a Filipino fishing boat—and left the Pinoy crew stranded. The response: "Don't offend China." After all, "we're friends," and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo stated that the Palace was willing to "tolerate" them fishing in our Exclusive Economic Zone. Plus, according to Senator Tito Sotto, we probably have "Chinese" fish in our waters.