PolWonk is a conjugation of three words policy, political and wonk which, in various aspects have been associated with the career and training she had over the years. PolWonk sums up her interests and advocacies. It is a weekly column, appearing every Fridays, in The Lobbyist

PolWonk is a conjugation of three words policy, political and wonk which, in various aspects have been associated with the career and training she had over the years. PolWonk sums up her interests and advocacies. It is a weekly column, appearing every Fridays, in The Lobbyist.
 

And this is what politicians should remember. They are being judged right now by their constituents and they will bring that to the polls an emotional tug on the heart that cannot be changed by a narrative made solely for a 90- or 45-day campaign period. Covid-19 is the campaign. If local government units (LGUs) and national officials do not get it, they may get the ire of the community come May 2022.

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Covid-19 is unprecedented. No one was prepared. Leaders melt or shine depending on how they took hold of the problem and communicated to assure the public that there is government and government will get things done. We can’t rely on solutions from the old school, but the new school is not even constructed yet. Strategic leaders embrace challenges, looking at these as opportunities.

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With an enemy unknown, the Department of Health (DoH) was blindsided, just like all national health agencies in other countries. The protocols were there, but it needed a redefinition in terms of capacities from supplies to laboratories, to data and data analytics, to operational definition and hopefully localization because, technically, there is a health care provider network already in the country.

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We need one but to say there is no plan in managing the pandemic is erroneous. One has to understand PRRD and how he decides, the value of gut politics or author Malcolm Gladwell’s idea of “blink” in relation to decision makers.

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In this Covid-19 situation, a pandemic, the frontline should have been the barangay and not the health workers because identifying, contact-tracing, monitoring and investigating are all tasks of barangay and that is not just the barangay captain, but the kagawad (village councilors), health workers and the tanod (village police officers).

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Let’s not lose our humanity in the process. These frontliners walked with grit and determination in their young years to achieve their dreams. The nation is indebted to all frontliners. We shall overcome.

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It has been said that “social norms are powerful motivators and getting in the way of people taking the right steps in response to the pandemic. To create a new social norm, human beings like to see behavior modeled. This serves as a signal that says, ‘Oh, someone else is doing it so I should do it also.’” Imagine if all of us in NCR practice social distancing.

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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. 

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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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Freedom of expression is a universal human right. It is “not the prerogative of the politician. Nor is it the privilege of the journalist. In their day-to-day work, journalists are simply exercising every citizen’s right to free speech.” Everyone has the right to communicate his or her opinions and ideas and share information in whatever form. In human rights, this is called freedom of expression. It prohibits the state and other people in society from censorship and it can be restricted for only very serious reasons.

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Tandem voting is supposed to be the way to go in 2022 but to enforce this, the Constitution has to undergo an amendment if that would be the mode of voting. Tandem voting is selecting a ticket rather than individual voting for candidates for president and vice president, respectively.

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Planning is important because that is where communication exits are clearly mapped out. Still, the basics matter: designate a spokesman, speak in one voice, stick to a message frame, drill the information on all channels, do KISS (keep it simple and short), ensure call to action and maintain open lines to make certain that the public knows what government is doing in crisis mode. One single task should be made clear: government is on top of the situation.

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