Data on causes of death presented in this press release were obtained from the timely and late registered deaths at the Office of the City/Municipal Civil Registrars throughout the country and submitted to the Office of the Civil Registrar General through the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)-Provincial Statistical Offices (PSOs) for encoding. Information presented includes deaths that occurred from January until June 2021 (cut-off date is as of 05 August 2021 on the processed death certificates). Figures presented herein are still preliminary and may differ from the final counts. Deaths of Filipinos abroad are not yet included in the data, only those who died in the country but whose usual residence is abroad.
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). Data from PSA are based on the descriptions written on the medical certificate portion of all death certificates received which were reviewed by the Local Health Officers, while data from the DOH were collected through a surveillance system. Furthermore, COVID-19 deaths in this release refer to both confirmed and probable cases as of registration, whereas figures released by DOH were deaths from confirmed cases only. Coding of causes of death is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems revision 10 (ICD-10), which is governed by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In response to the emergence of COVID-19, the WHO issued two new emergency codes to be used when coding causes of death for statistical purposes. Code U07.1 refers to COVID-19-virus identified, which is used when COVID-19 is confirmed by a laboratory test, while code U07.2 refers to COVID-19-virus not identified, used for suspected or probable cases as well as clinically-epidemiologically diagnosed COVID-19 cases where testing was not completed or inconclusive.1
Ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and neoplasms lead the causes of death in the Philippines
The top three causes of death in the country from January to June of 2021 were ischaemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and neoplasms. Incidentally, these were also the leading causes of death in the same period in 2020 with some deviations in the ranking. During the first half of 2021, ischaemic heart diseases were the leading cause of death with 56.76 thousand cases or 18.7 percent of the total deaths in the country. This indicated an increase of about 17.4 percent from the 48.34 thousand deaths or 16.7 percent of the total deaths in the first six months of 2020. On the other hand, cerebrovascular diseases, now came in second with 30.80 thousand deaths (10.2% share) from being third in the previous year’s ranking. This showed an increase of 0.7 percent from the 30.59 thousand cases (10.6% share) in the same period in 2020. Neoplasms, commonly known as “cancer” were the third leading cause which accounted for 27.34 thousand deaths (9.0% share) of the total. Deaths due to diabetes mellitus (19.80 thousand or 6.5% share), which ranked fourth in 2021, had an increase of 10.2 percent. Meanwhile, deaths due to COVID-19 virus identified recorded 17.16 thousand cases (5.7% share) from January to June 2021 from 1.23 thousand cases (0.4% share) in the same period in 2020, making it the fifth leading cause of death for that period. (Table 1 and Figure 1)
Figure 1. All Causes of Mortality (Top 20), Philippines:
January to June, 2020(p) & 2021(p)
Note: Symptoms, signs, and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99) are not included in the analysis due to the unspecified nature of these causes.
(p) - Preliminary
Deaths due to some specified respiratory diseases decrease from the previous year
Based on the 20 leading causes of death, registered deaths attributed to pneumonia recorded a substantial decline, from 20.31 thousand (7.0% share) in January to June 2020 to 13.74 thousand (4.5% share) in the same period in 2021. This indicated a decrease of -32.3 percent, pushing its rank from 4th to 7th. Similarly, deaths due to respiratory tuberculosis decreased by -24.2 percent during the same period in 2021 (from 9.74 thousand in 2020 to 7.38 thousand in 2021), moving down its rank from 8th to 12th. Meanwhile, deaths due to chronic lower respiratory infections showed a decrease of -15.6 percent during the same period (from 10.95 thousand in 2020 to 9.25 thousand in 2021), lowering its rank to number 10 from number 7. (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 26.75 thousand deaths or 8.8 percent of the total registered deaths from January to June 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 5th leading cause of death in the country with 17.16 thousand cases or 5.7 percent of the total deaths in the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, registered deaths due to COVID-19 with virus not identified accounted for 9.59 thousand or 3.2 percent of the total deaths from January to June 2021, making it the 9th leading cause of death. (Tables 1 and Figure 1)
Figure 2. Number of Registered Deaths Due to COVID-19 by Region of Usual Residence, Philippines: January-June 2021(p)
(as of 05 August 2021)
(p) - Preliminary
Four regions report over a thousand COVID-19 deaths
Among the 17 regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) registered the highest number of deaths due to COVID-19 with 9.98 thousand or 37.3 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths from January to June 2021. CALABARZON ranked second with 6.08 thousand deaths (22.7%), Central Luzon came in third with 4.30 thousand deaths (16.1%), while Cagayan Valley was ranked fourth with 1.20 thousand deaths (4.5%). On the other hand, ARMM reported the least number of registered COVID-19 deaths with only 11 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 2.18 thousand deaths or 21.8 percent of the total COVID-19 deaths in the region from January to June 2021. This was followed by the City of Manila and City of Pasig with 1.53 thousand (15.3%) and 1.01 thousand (10.2%) COVID-19 deaths, respectively. (Table 3 and Figure 3)
Figure 3. COVID-19 Deaths in NCR, January to June 2021(p)
(as of 05 August 2021)
DENNIS S. MAPA, Ph.D.
National Statistician and Civil Registrar General