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Deaths rise, births fall as pandemic continues

Funeral workers wear personal protective equipment as they enter the Baesa crematorium in Quezon City, April 15, 2021. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

THE NUMBER of registered deaths in the country rose by an annual 35.2% in 2021, while births fell by 19% as the coronavirus pandemic continued, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday.

Preliminary vital statistics data from the PSA showed deaths last year reached 829,955, rising by more than a third from 613,936 in 2020.

The Calabarzon (Cavite-Laguna-Batangas-Rizal-Quezon) Region accounted for 16.1% of the total deaths last year at 133,570. This was higher by 40.8% from 94,898 recorded in 2020.

It was followed by Central Luzon, with 13.1% share at 108,851, National Capital Region (11.9% at 98,834), Western Visayas (8.4% at 69,663), and Central Visayas (7.6% at 63,328).

Registered births, meanwhile, declined by almost a fifth to 1,237,748 in 2021 from 1,528,684 tallied in 2020.

Calabarzon likewise has the largest share of births at 15.3% (188,935), followed by Metro Manila’s 12.1% share (149,735), Central Luzon’s 11.8% (146,298), Central Visayas’ 8% (99,091), and Bicol Region’s 6.5% (80,480).

However, Calabarzon’s birth tally last year was lower by 18.8% annually compared with 232,606 in 2020. Registered births in the National Capital Region also contracted by 24.7%.

Meanwhile, registered marriages climbed by 35.2% year on year to 325,448 last year from 240,775 in 2020.

Calabarzon had the highest share of registered marriages at 14.8% with 48,038. Metro Manila had an 11.3% share or 36,872 marriages, followed by Central Luzon’s 11.2% (36,371), Central Visayas’ 9.3% (30,302), and Western Visayas’ 7.3% (23,899).

The information in the vital statistics report was compiled from tallies generated by city or municipal Civil Registrars during the period, consolidated by the PSA’s Provincial Statistical Offices and then submitted to the Office of the Civil Registrar General as of Jan. 31.

In a separate report, the PSA said that ischaemic heart diseases were the leading cause of deaths in the country with 125,913 cases as of end-November. This is equivalent to 17.9% of the 704,202 total deaths listed in the January to November period.

Cerebrovascular diseases were the second-highest cause of death with 68,180 (9.7% share). Meanwhile, COVID-19 as the cause of death totaled 97,212.

Deaths associated with COVID-19 are classified into those with the virus identified and not identified at the time of death.

COVID-19 with virus identified accounted for 67,494 or 9.6% of total deaths. Taken by itself, this category would be the second leading cause of death during the period.

Some 29,718 deaths due to COVID-19 fell into the “virus not identified” category — 4.2% of total deaths, or tenth overall.

According to the PSA, data on COVID-19 deaths were based on death certificates received and certified by health officers of local government units.

This is a departure from the data collected by the Department of Health (DoH), which maintains a separate COVID-19 tracking system and only counts confirmed cases.

DoH reported an additional 1,019 new infections on Feb. 22, bringing the total cases in the country to 3.65 million. Active cases stood at 56,668, while total deaths were recorded at 55,776. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona