* My column in BusinessWorld last January 10.
One, births are declining and this decline is accelerating. From an average of 139,500 births a month in 2019, it went down to 127,400/month in 2020 and 101,400/month in January-September 2021. So, there were nearly 150,000 fewer births in 2020 compared with 2019, and there will be around 300,000 fewer births in 2021 than 2020.
Two, there were fewer marriages in 2020 due to the strict lockdown. On average there were 40,000 marriages/month in 2019, then there was a drastic decline to only 20,065 in 2020, with the biggest decline in April-May 2020 with only 866 and 4,135 marriages, respectively. Economic and health/psychological stress must have also contributed to fewer babies for young married couples.
Three, there was a big rise in the number of deaths in 2021 when mass vaccination started. From an average of 51,694 deaths per month in 2019, this declined slightly to 51,156/month in 2020, then went up to 55,244/month in the first two months of 2021. By March, when mass vaccination started, the number reached 61,484, the first time in Philippine history that deaths have exceeded the 58,000 mark. From there, it has been rising to nearly 94,000 in August and 103,000 deaths in September 2021.
Four, there was excess mortality of 19,500/month from March to July 2021 over same period in 2020. This went up to 37,000 in August and 49,000 in September, when some 33.7 million vax doses were already given in August (+14.35M over July) and 45.6 M doses in September (see Table 1).
This is not COVID-related excess mortality because the total number of COVID deaths were only 5,559 in August 2021 and 4,846 in September.
The incumbent President of Concerned Doctors and Citizens of the Philippines (CDC Ph), Dr. Homer Lim, made this good observation: “The Philippine statistics on death and birth rates are quite alarming. Year 2021 was gloomy, excess deaths have topped 49,000 in September alone and we haven’t yet included the last quarter. What factors could have caused this sudden alarming surge in deaths? It is certainly not COVID deaths, so could this be due to people afraid of COVID that they have neglected their other illnesses, or could this be a reflection of vaccine related deaths?”
And the former CDC Ph President Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani, Jr. offered a good course of action: “These statistics on deaths and births have a huge implication on the longest, most expensive and tyrannical health protocols our country has ever tried. Unbridled lockdowns and experimental vaccinations are the most likely suspects in this sudden high deaths and low birth rates. An investigation by independent and credible experts on this life and death anomaly should be launched as soon as possible.”
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released last week the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2022 as signed by the President in December. I list below the big budget items and some new items there.
One, in the Allocation to local government units (ALGUs), the previous Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) has been renamed National Tax Allotment (NTA) in GAA 2022. The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) block grant is also added.
Two, in the Pension and Gratuity Fund (PGF) in 2022, I included the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).
In Table 2, note the huge increase in approved vs. proposed budget 2022 for the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Social Welfare and Development, Health, and state universities and colleges. And a huge decline in approved vs. proposed budget for the Department of Education, Pension and Gratuity Fund, Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), and Department of Transportation.
Philippine government spending on health is actually huge and more than double the Department of Health’s (DoH) budget. See here in GAA 2022:
1.) DoH budget, P183.89 billion (including DoH hospitals, COVID vaccine booster shots P2.79 billion)
2.) DoH attached corporations, P85.86 billion (including PhilHealth P79.99 billion)
3.) Unprogrammed Appropriations (UA), P120.25 billion, of which:
– Procurement of COVID vaccine booster shots, P45.37 billion,
– Compensation and other benefits for COVID workers in health facilities, P42 billion,
– Operations of DoH Metro Manila and regional hospitals, P12.5 billion,
– COVID laboratory network commodities, P9.80 billion
– Health Facilities Enhancement Program, P4.04 billion
4.) Hospitals by other agencies, at least P10 billion:
– The University of the Philippines’ Philippine General Hospital (PGH), P6.30 billion,
– The Department of National Defense’s Veterans Memorial Medical Center, P2.35 billion,
– Other SUCs hospitals (West Visayas State University Medical Center…)
So P183.89 billion + P85.86 billion + P120.25 billion + P10 billion (at least) = P400 billion. Not included here are health spending by: a.) government gambling corporations (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office), b.) by other national agencies as they have their own medical and dental centers, and, c.) by LGUs as many of them have their own provincial hospitals, city hospitals, on top of their LGU health centers.
Now, the number of COVID cases are at an all-time high (28,700 on Jan. 9), the bulk of which are in Metro Manila, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benjamin Abalos has declared that the vaccination rate in the National Capital Region as of Jan. 4 was already 106% of target population — this is additional proof that vaccines have little function to control infections and protect the public. People have to rely on natural immunity and stronger immune systems to protect them from severe symptoms.
The implicit forced vaccination orders issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases under its Resolution 148, by the MMDA issued last week, and by many LGUs should stop. Not only for being unconstitutional but also for their questionable health impact.
BWorld 520, Seven trends in COVID cases, vaccination, and causes of death, December 30, 2021
BWorld 521, Europe’s blackout economics and the Philippines’ path to brownouts, December 31, 2021
BWorld 522, Top 10 economic news of 2021, January 09, 2022.