COVID-19 has shackled economies, healthcare systems, welfare programs and social balances. Science is at the forefront of solutions while governments attempt to contain widespread infection. While we trust that the cure is on the way, changing our lifestyle and the way we do things has become a must more than an option.
The Philippines and the rest of the world is suddenly facing an unseen enemy and dealing with a situation full of uncertainties. It is not just about containing the spread of the disease and finding a vaccine. It is now about humanity fighting for its survival.
The Filipino spirit of communal unity, work and cooperation or "Bayanihan" is much needed in this time of crisis. The challenge today is not the traditional lending of a hand for a family moving into a new place, but to ensure neighborhoods and communities stay put and quarantined if necessary. The challenge today is to stay calm but alert; dispel panic and promote positivity.
Homing in is a way to reconnect with families and communities. We might well get out of this global challenge with stronger communities and a world that talks to all because we share information in a very transparent way and governments are accountable for the actions they take. In the end, humanity will find its way home.
The Philippines can't afford to waste any more time on reforms because it risks again being labeled as the sick man of Asia. Vietnam is next in line to become the factory to the world as China becomes more prosperous and wages continue their upward trajectory. It is high time we do away with the practice of being our own worst enemy.
The promotion of women's rights and gender equality continues to grow in many parts of the world. However, many advocates feel that a lot more must be done in order to fully realize the end of gender-biased violence and exploitation of women across many countries.
With President Duterte emphasizing the need to pursue an independent foreign policy, it is time for the Philippines to do away with the Cold War-era mentality of building alliances with a few and instead seek partnerships with many. It is through partnerships, not alliances, that will help the Philippines stand on its own in rebuilding and constantly evolving its the strength of its military and economy.
Covid-19 continues to instill in us that all politics is local and the opportunity provided by the crisis is to get local governments to do their basic tasks: cleanliness and public order. The basics have a way of getting harder to get done, unless leaders do their job proactively. Is the Philippines ready in this era of epidemics? What are our economic contingency plans? Are the cities ready? Or will we be like the mayor of Wuhan?
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