We are living on the precipice of an unprecedented epoch in human history where people have the opportunity to analyze and galvanize their institutions of government and economy, and to cause significant improvements thereon.
If not, they may choose to completely overhaul them.
This is the era of the great reset, a chance for the way things are run to fundamentally transform, hopefully for the better.
The politics of the pandemic is no easy thing to write about; it is in fact so broad a topic to cover in just one sitting.
I devote this column to the political currents, the actions, and ideals which can be of great use in help bringing about this fundamental transformation in the way things are currently done.
One of the most outstanding uses of mobilizing a realist approach in leadership and decision-making in this time of unprecedented adversity is the leadership of Jerry Treñas in leading Iloilo City’s fight against the virus.
From the outset last March, our neighbors across the Guimaras Strait led by their experienced Ateneo Law-alumnus chief executive put up one hell of an effort to keep COVID cases low in their city.
It should be noted that the city had several advantages in economics, wealth, and in living standards which enabled it to effectively finance their response.
Treñas and his administration made use of social media, which recently overtook television as the Filipinos’ preferred way of staying updated on current issues and news, to announce to his constituents what measures were going to be in place for a given period in time.
He and his team were able to mobilize the private sector to contribute and play a large role in donating to front liners and keeping their businesses virus-free.
More importantly, the chief executive who took into account his local context was able to communicate in the vernacular, the Hiligaynon language, his thoughts and orders, thereby permitting Ilonggos to appreciate and understand closely what exactly he means.
As I write this, Mr. Treñas has been able to coordinate with the national government and a private company the procurement of a vaccine for at least 60 percent of his constituents, announced once more through his social media pages.
His methods are indicative of seeking a better and more renewed effort at governing in the future. His team and his remarkable, comprehensive approach to governance stands as a highlight of this pandemic, and deserves appreciation.
What else has proven quite stunning lately, but nevertheless a welcome surprise, is the recent moves by Congress to amend the outdated 1987 constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.
Its main proponent, Rep. Garbin underscored quite clearly the urgent need for the country and its economy to be brought up to level with our more dynamic ASEAN neighbors, like Vietnam and Singapore, whose economies sustained the adverse effects of the pandemic a degree better than ours.
To wit, the Economist recently ranked the Philippines first as one of the countries that will have a tough time in post-pandemic recovery.
His move to get rid of the protectionist provisions, supported by the House leadership, is timely.
The work in bringing about this much-needed change will be steep and hard, as there is also the issue of gaining approval from the Presidency for this initiative.
A source of perennial objection, of course, will be some sectors of the populace who remain unconvinced at the long-held need for a liberalized Philippine economy, with their refrains of “Should this be prioritized during a time of pandemic? ” ringing out almost unceasingly.
What we need to take into account are the several, long-seated disadvantages borne by our economy over the past generation, like our OFW phenomenon and rampant joblessness only made worse by the recent circumstances.
The potential liberalization of the Philippine economy will be of massive help in bringing about a great reset, as its effects stand to benefit the common people in providing jobs, employment, and livelihoods.
If we wish to make the best of this trying and tiring period in human history, we need to seize all the opportunities we can. We must grab this moment to learn, to be vigilant and careful, and to use our voices in helping bring about the changes our institutions need going forward, while adopting that can-do leadership approach as to bring unity and a coordinated approach in doing so.
As Eleanor Roosevelt once famously declared, the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
So too will this world after the coming great reset.