Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III admitted that in terms of the Philippines’ overall budget for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response, the country is falling behind its Southeast Asian neighbors. 

“I will have to admit that our fund, in particular ‘yung Covid fund natin, we are ranked number 6,” Duque said during the virtual celebration of “12.12” International Universal Health Coverage Day.

“Number one diyan is, in terms of absolute amount, hundred plus billions ang Indonesia. Ang Malaysia or Singapore nasa second or third. Ang Vietnam or Thailand fifth. Tayo panghuli nasa 21 billion dollars tayo,” Duque said.

As of November 30, Indonesia sits on the top spot for the largest Covid-19 response package at $116.33 billion, followed by Singapore with a total package of $89.14 billion, according to the Asian Development Bank’s Covid-19 Policy Database.

Thailand sits on the 3rd spot with $84.09 billion; fourth is Malaysia with $80.7 billion; Vietnam in fifth spot with a total package of $26.96 billion; and the Philippines sits on the sixth with a $21.64 billion total Covid-19 war chest.

“Kulang ito. Pero kahit kulang at di mapapantayan ang kasama sa ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) naipapakita naman natin magaling pa rin ang ating pinakita,” Duque said, mentioning that the Philippines was able to reduce the number of active cases as well as the rate of increase in confirmed infections despite lack of budget. 

The Philippines is on the 2nd spot in Southeast Asia for the most number of Covid-19 infections, trailing behind Indonesia with 611,631 cases. RJ Espartinez