COVID-19 is now the 3rd leading cause of death in the Philippines

By Raphael Polintan

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Monday, January 17, 2022, that COVID-19 was among the leading causes of death in the Philippines from January to October of last year, taking third place behind ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases.

“COVID-19 Virus identified” deaths accounted for 51,514 or 8.5% of the total fatalities in the period of January to October 2021, launching virus identified deaths into third place. 

PSA clarified that “COVID-19 Virus identified” referred to deaths wherein the disease was confirmed by a laboratory test.

Meanwhile, registered deaths due to “COVID-19 Virus not identified”— a term used for probable cases or whose testing was inconclusive— claimed eighth place, amounting to 23,771 cases or 3.9% of the total deaths in the same period.

The National Capital Region (NCR) had the highest number of registered COVID-related deaths with 18,044 or a 24.0% share. Quezon City led the figure in the region with 3,955, followed by the cities of Manila and Pasig at 2,558 and 1,832 deaths, respectively.

Overall, COVID-19 was responsible for 75,285 or 12.5% of the total recorded deaths from January to October 2021. In 2020, mortality from the virus amounted to 27,967 deaths or 4.9% of the total causes of death.

PSA explained that their figures were obtained from death certificates, whereas the Department of Health (DOH) acquired theirs from surveillance systems, noting the discrepancy between the numbers presented by DOH in January 17, which reported 52,929 total deaths.

PSA data additionally showed ischaemic heart diseases being the top cause of death last year, claiming 110,332 lives and sharing 18.3% of the total fatalities. Cerebrovascular diseases subsequently came in second place with 58,880 deaths (9.7%); neoplasms, otherwise known as cancer, ranked fourth with 48,937 (8.1%); and deaths due to diabetes mellitus ranked fifth with 38,584 deaths (6.4%).      


Department of Health. (n.d.). COVID-19 tracker. Retrieved January 17, 2021, from

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2021, March 16). Causes of deaths in the Philippines (preliminary): January to December 2020.

Philippine Statistics Authority. (2022, January 17). Causes of deaths in the Philippines (preliminary): January to October 2021.