THE Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) recommended that its demographic vulnerabilities tool (DVT) be used in the vaccination rollouts in the country to target highly-affected communities.
The DVT contains population information based on the 2020 population estimates released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The data contains not only population estimates but also land area and population density.
Based on the latest data, some 1,272 high-population density (HD) barangays nationwide have been severely affected by the pandemic. These barangays recorded an average of 137 cases over an eight-month period from September 2020 to April 15, 2021.
“The latest iteration of the DVT will be useful for local government units (LGUs) in determining barangays with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths for their pandemic-mitigation programs,” Popcom said in a statement.
The Popcom also recommended the mobilization of composite teams in communities reporting high numbers of Covid-19-related cases and deaths, as well as unimpaired access to hospital care to LD barangays registering mortalities.
For recovery strategies, the Popcom said, vaccinations in the said areas should be prioritized while family planning demand generation activities should also be strengthened there.
The agency will soon distribute the new DVT information to its partner agencies DOH, Department of the Interior and Local Government and the National Economic and Development Authority.
The agencies, including the Popcom, will focus their efforts in regional offices, which in turn, will disseminate the material to LGUs for use in addressing the Covid-19 situation in their respective areas.
THE Popcom said the HD barangays had a population ranging from 201 to 999 per hectare—well above the average of 200 persons per hectare.
The DVT data showed that the community with the highest density in the Philippines is Barangay 73 in Caloocan City, with a population of 19,506 inside a hectare.
Based on the DVT data, there were a total of 1,941 deaths in the HD barangays. This meant there were around three casualties per barangay, nearly twice the deaths in less-densely populated barangays.
Popcom said that based on the DVT, some 3,348 Filipinos living in low-population density (LDs) areas and 6,186 of those in medium-population density (MDs) died of Covid-19. This meant that in these areas, around 2 Filipinos perished in every barangay.
“Even LDs have higher-than-expected death rates not commensurate with the number of cases. This is because of the lack of access of residents’ to health-care facilities which are mostly located in cities or municipalities,” Undersecretary for Population and Development Juan Antonio Perez III said.
“We can say that the lack of medical workers, as well as geographic limitations, pose impediments to their required level of medical care,” he added.
Metro Manila plus bubble
BASED on the DVT data, the National Capital Region (NCR) had the greatest number of very high-density barangays (VHDs) at 90 and HDs at 483.
While Cavite has only four VHDs, it has 169 classified as HDs. Laguna has zero and 72, respectively; Bulacan, two and 14; and, Rizal, zero and 18, in that order.
In terms of Covid-19-related deaths, in the bubble, LDs accounted for 53.53 percent, while HDs tallied 25.66 percent. For infections, HDs registered the most at 152,835, while LDs had 94,118.
By density classification, data showed 460 LDs had the greatest number of casualties at 924, while 373 HDs followed with 1,440 deaths.
In Luzon, Region III—excluding Bulacan—has the greatest number of VHDs at 14 and HDs at 84, followed by Region IV-A which has 1 and 79, in that order.
In the Visayas: Region VII lists VHDs at 6 and HDs at 50, while Region VI has 5 and 89, respectively.
Mindanao has the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with the most VHDs at 11 and HDs, 52; Region XI with 2 and 23; while Region IX has 3 and 20, respectively.
For Covid-19-related deaths, in Luzon, LDs accounted for 93.3 percent or 8,680 deaths, while HDs tallied 3 percent or 279 deaths.
For infections, Luzon LDs registered the most at 96,222, while MDs had 9,887. By density classification, 1,111 LDs had the greatest number of casualties at 1,645, while 102 MDs followed with 196.
Still on deaths caused by Covid-19, in Visayas, LDs accounted for 93.71 percent or 4,948 deaths while HDs tallied 2.5 percent or 132 casualties.
For infections, Visayan LDs registered the most at 47,180, while HDs had 11,289. By density classification, 615 LDs had the greatest number of casualties at 958, while 93 MDs followed with 280.
With Covid-19 Mindanaoan deaths, LDs accounted for 93.97 percent or 4,520 casualties, while MDs tallied 3.43 percent or 165 deaths.
For infections, LDs in the island-region registered the most at 47,148, while MDs had 8,217. By density classification, 663 LDs had the greatest number of casualties at 1,255, while 73 MDs followed with 288.