News Release

Palace: Positive developments in containing COVID, reducing hunger proof of effective govt response

The Philippines’ improved ranking in the 2021 Nikkei Asia COVID-19 Recovery Index from 103rd in October 2021 to 57th place in November 2021 is a clear indication that the country has successfully contained the highly transmissible Delta variant, said Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Karlo Nograles in a press briefing on December 7, 2021.

According to Nikkei Asia, the Philippines fared better compared to Australia, United States, Thailand, Russia, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, and Vietnam.

“As we previously stated, rankings such as these should factor in country-specific COVID-19 context. Our 121st September and 103rd October rankings were done when the Philippines was experiencing a spike of cases brought about by the Delta variant,” said Secretary Nograles.

Having said that, Sec. Nograles urged the public to continue to remain vigilant especially in the coming holiday season. “Totoo po, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; but the only way we can get to the end is if we continue to carefully watch our steps. Ituloy po natin ang mask wearing, paghuhugas ng kamay, ang social distancing, at ang pagbabakuna,” Nograles said.

The improved performance of the Philippines in terms of containing COVID-19, particularly the Delta variant, which is currently the dominant variant all over the world, was also highlighted in the presentation of Fr. Nicanor Austriaco during President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Talk-to-the -People Address last night, December 6, 2021, said Sec. Nograles.

Fr. Austriaco said the Philippines has achieved substantial population immunity from natural infections and vaccinations given that the country was confronted by the most infectious Delta variant, coupled with the highest mobility levels in the past months, yet active COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the country are currently at its lowest levels in the past 20 months.

“This, in our view, is a testament to the contributions of everyone from our frontliners down to each individual involved in the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19 and to prevent its spread. Sa inyong lahat, maraming, maraming salamat po,” remarked Nograles.

Aside from the improved 2021 Nikkei Asia COVID-19 Recovery Index ranking of the Philippines, the Palace official also shared the news of the country’s upgraded ranking in the 2021 Global Hunger Index, where the country ranked eighth among 21 economies in South Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.

The country’s current Global Hunger Index score is at 16.8, which was at 20.5 in 2012, 20.4 in 2006, and 25.0 in 2000. The Global Hunger Index uses four indicators, namely: undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting and child mortality.

Secretary Nograles said measures were done by the Duterte Administration to address the said areas of concern cited by the Global Hunger Index, particularly the signing of President Duterte of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain Para sa Batang Pilipino Act that implemented a national feeding program for undernourished children, and R.A. 11148 or Ang Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act, better known as the First 1,000 Days Law, which ensures maternal, neonatal, child health, and nutrition services in the child’s first 1,000 days of life.

Meanwhile, the Palace is likewise encouraged by the results of the Third Quarter 2021 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, said Nograles. The said SWS survey showed a decline in the percentage of Filipino families experiencing involuntary hunger, which dropped from a high of 30.7 percent in September 2020 to 10 percent in September 2021, or a decrease of 20.7 percent from the same period last year.

“We attribute the drop in self-rated hunger in September 2021 to efforts to ensure the safety of our people while reviving the economic health of our nation. The progress made in reducing hunger, in our view, is consistent and dovetails with this year’s third quarter economic growth of 7.1%,” Nograles said. ### OPS