By Deighton Acuin


The government’s communication arm confirmed Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte has issued a memorandum directing its affiliated news agencies to "convey that we are faring better than other countries" in terms of COVID-19 response.

"Yes, there is a memo directing us to give updates on world data regarding COVID-19 and to convey that we are faring better than other countries," Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) News and Information Bureau Director Virginia Arcilla-Agtay said.

Arcilla-Agtay added there is “nothing wrong with this, nor is it a lie, it is simply amplifying facts.”

"And here are the facts: Regionally and globally, we have achieved a reputable and efficient response to the virus as compared to some developed, more advanced, and less densely-populated countries," the official said.

"The President’s directive is to convey these positive messages to the people and these favorable news as part of our good governance outcomes.”

"Rather than to proliferate fear, uncertainty, disinformation, and fake news, we want people to put their trust and to work with the government in fighting COVID-19,” she added.

According to the John Hopkins University, the Philippines ranked 26th worldwide in most number of infected individuals, while ranking second in Southeast Asia.

In terms of vaccination drive, the Philippines has so far inoculated at least 1.8 million people, very far from the herd immunity goal of 70 million immunized individuals.

As of Wednesday, April 28, the Department of Health reported 1,020,495 COVID-19 cases, 935,695 recoveries, and 17,031 deaths.