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MANILA, Philippines — The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has scored the government’s pandemic response in October a 4.83 out of a perfect 9 as the economy further reopened and mass vaccination picked up pace alongside a downtrend in COVID-19 infections.

The scorecard unveiled by Neda on Monday reflected the three-pronged targets of the fourth phase of the government’s National Action Plan (NAP4) against COVID-19 — the evolving blueprint to emerge from the health and socioeconomic crises inflicted by the prolonged pandemic.

Neda Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon told a press briefing that NAP4 has three sub-indices, one of which was infection management, composed of three indicators: number of severe and critical cases per month; time gap between detection and isolation; and tests per case.

The second index was vaccine rollout, consisting of the total number of jabs; the number of new vaccinations during the month; as well as the number of fully vaccinated.

Finally, the NAP4 scorecard also measured socioeconomic recovery through the monthly purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of global information provider IHS Markit, which served as a proxy for the manufacturing sector’s growth; Google mobility measuring retail and recreation activities; and the number of commercial airline passengers.

Each of the total nine indicators was assigned a perfect score of 1, hence a perfect score of 3 per sub-index, and 9 overall.

At the height of the Delta strain-induced surge in cases last September, Neda gave infection management a score of 1.25; vaccine rollout, 0.99; and socioeconomic recovery, 2.18, or a total of 4.42 across all of the indicators.

For October, the score improved to 4.83 with infection management scoring a higher 1.44; vaccine rollout, 1.3; and economic recovery, 2.1.

“In September, we were below the half-point mark… In October, we rose from the half-point mark, and we are hoping that this trend will continue,” Edillon said.

Asked if Neda was satisfied with the October score, Edillon replied: “It was a matter of really understanding the context of where we came from. In the recovery cluster, we are quite satisfied that we have changed the policy with respect to quarantine restrictions — we are now into granular lockdowns rather than very area-wide restrictions.”

“We’re happy with the way we have been adjusting our policies that will allow for more economic activities,” she added.

Edillon attributed the “considerable” improvement in last month’s NAP4 score to an improved mass vaccination rate plus better management of infections.

The Neda official said they expect an even higher score in November due to progress observed in most of the indicators.

Since NAP4 will be implemented up to next year, Edillon said Neda would continue measuring progress using the current scorecard and also plans to set monthly targets while making public the actual scores.

The goal to reach the perfect score of 9 and when it could be achieved will be first discussed with the national task force, Edillon said.

Neda came out with the scorecard in reaction to scorecards being released by foreign publications Bloomberg and Nikkei, which had often ranked the Philippines in the bottom-rung.

Edillon said these foreign scorecards had shortcomings as they had “no differentiation or context” of each countries’ quite unique COVID-19 experiences. “It’s very difficult to compare or score per country due to different experiences.”

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