Data on causes of death presented in this press release were obtained from the deaths registered, either timely or belatedly, at the appropriate Office of the City/Municipal Civil Registrar throughout the country and subsequently submitted for encoding to the Office of the Civil Registrar General through the Provincial Statistical Offices (PSOs) of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The information presented includes deaths that occurred from January to December 2021 based on data files received by the PSA - Civil Registration Service (CRS) from the PSOs as of 31 January 2022. Thus, the figures presented herein are still preliminary and may differ from the final count. Deaths of Filipinos abroad are not yet included in this release, but Filipinos whose usual residence is abroad and foreign nationals with deaths occurring in the country during the reference period were included in this report.
Figures in this release, specifically for deaths due to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), may differ from the one released by the Department of Health (DOH) because the figures in this release were obtained from the certificates of death particularly the descriptions written on the medical certificate portion therein as reviewed by the health officer of the local government unit concerned. On the other hand, the figures released by the DOH were obtained through a surveillance system.
Furthermore, figures in this release for deaths due to COVID-19 refer to both confirmed and probable cases as of registration. The coding of causes of death is based on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems revision 10 (ICD-10). With the emergence of COVID-19, the WHO issued two new emergency codes (Code U07.1 and Code U07.2) to be used when coding causes of death for statistical purposes.
Code U07.1 or COVID-19-virus identified is used when COVID-19 is confirmed by a laboratory test. Code U07.2 or COVID-19-virus not identified is used for suspected or probable cases as well as clinically-epidemiologically diagnosed COVID-19 cases where testing was not completed or inconclusive.1 Thus, the figures in this release for deaths due to COVID-19 include both Code U07.1 and Code U07.2 while the figures released by the DOH, on the other hand, include deaths from confirmed cases only or Code U07.1.
Ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and COVID-19 virus identified lead the causes of death in the Philippines
The top three causes of death in the country from January to December of 2021 were ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and COVID-19 virus identified. In the same period of 2020, the leading causes of death were ischaemic heart diseases, neoplasms, and cerebrovascular diseases. From January to December of 2021, ischaemic heart diseases were the leading cause of death with 136,575 cases or 17.8 percent of the total deaths in the country. This indicated an increase of 29.7 percent from the 105,281 deaths or 17.1 percent of the total deaths in the same period of 2020. On the other hand, cerebrovascular diseases, came in second with 74,262 deaths (9.7% share) from being third in the previous year’s ranking. It showed an increase of 15.3 percent from the 64,381 cases (10.5% share) in the same period in 2020. Deaths due to COVID-19 virus identified were the third leading cause which accounted for 74,008 deaths (9.7% share), rising from rank 14 with 9,316 deaths (1.5% share) in the same period of 2020. Neoplasms, commonly known as “cancer” ranked as the fourth leading cause of death with 59,503 recorded cases (7.8% share) from January to December 2021. It dropped from being the second leading cause of death with 66,342 deaths (10.8% share) from the previous year’s ranking. Meanwhile, deaths due to diabetes mellitus (48,267 or 6.3% share), which ranked fifth in 2021, had an increase of 21.0 percent. (Table 1 and Figure 1)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) ranks among the leading causes of death
Registered deaths due to COVID-19 accounted for a total of 105,723 deaths or 13.8 percent of the total registered deaths from January to December 2021. By classification, COVID-19 with virus identified and COVID-19 virus not identified were both included in the 10 leading causes of death. COVID-19 with virus identified was the 3rd leading cause of death in the country with 74,008 cases or 9.7 percent of the total deaths in the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, registered deaths due to COVID-19 with virus not identified accounted for 31,715 or 4.1 percent of the total deaths from January to December 2021, making it the 8th leading cause of death. (Table 1 and Figure 1)
Three regions report over ten thousand COVID-19 deaths
Among the 17 regions, CALABARZON registered the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 with 21,165 or 20.0 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths from January to December 2021. The National Capital Region (NCR) ranked second with 20,924 deaths (19.8%), while Central Luzon came in third with 18,828 deaths (17.8%). On the other hand, ARMM reported the least number of registered COVID-19 deaths with only 162 cases. (Table 2 and Figure 2)
Quezon City registers most COVID-19 deaths in NCR
In NCR, Quezon City reported the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19, with 4,660 deaths or 22.3 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths in the region from January to December 2021. This was followed by the City of Manila and City of Pasig with 2,976 (14.2%) and 2,075 (9.9%) COVID-19 deaths, respectively. (Table 3 and Figure 3)
DENNIS S. MAPA, Ph.D.
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General