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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

God bless the Philippines with good leaders

“Whoever wins will have a daunting mission.”

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Today is a pivotal junction for our country. As voters, we will exercise the power to choose the leaders who will be given the authority to govern a nation that is struggling to heal and rise from the deep damage of the still-lingering global pandemic. Whoever emerges as victor in this most polarizing campaign season will be faced with the daunting mission of solving the problems that this administration will pass on, plus the complications of ongoing geopolitical crises in Europe and China’s ongoing incursions into our Exclusive Economic Zones in the West Philippine Sea.

We have seen so many elections since the violent and cheating-prone manual elections of the 60s. Thus, the revolutionary transition to automated elections has restored the credibility and confidence in our electoral process. Several nationwide studies have verified this fact. As expected, the seasonal social media chatter on so-called threats to compromise or hack the automated election system have been proven many times to be baseless with election watchdogs verifying the accuracy of results in the manual audit of ballots.

If all goes well, by tomorrow morning we will know who the next president, the legislators, and the local government leaders of the next political cycle will be. This new administration will be faced with a deeply scarred economy and a government bureaucracy that is still infected with corruption and inefficiencies. The big lesson of the pandemic crisis is the interlinked dynamics of health, the environment, and the economy which will need an all of society approach that harnesses the resources, expertise, and active participation of the private sector, civil society, and the people – and for this, the next government must listen to the top thought leaders for sound guidance.

A compendium of 16 special studies with strategic analyses and solutions have been authored by some of the country’s experts which will soon be launched by think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute entitled “Beyond the Crisis: A Strategic Agenda for the Next President”. The book offers objective and forward-looking solutions based on well researched scientific data with people-centric and sustainable nation building through policy reforms that form part of the strategic agenda for sustainable recovery and governance.

These special papers have been launched in ADRi’s recent series of online policy forums tackling the full range of issues from the health crisis of COVID-19 which revealed the inefficiencies of a fragmented health system, the depressed economy, the digital readiness challenge, the environmental crisis of climate change and our lack of resilience, the regional threat of China’s expansionist ambitions and continuing incursions in the West Philippine Sea, and persistence of graft and corruption in government.

Here are the gists of some of them.

Guidance for economic growth is given by former BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo’s special paper “Philippines: Pursuing an Investment-Led, More Sustainable Economic Growth”. He posits that health mitigation should remain a priority alongside public policies that encourage private investments. 

Prof. Vicente B. Paqueo and Michael R. M. Abrigo’s paper “Issues for the Next Administration’s Development Agenda On Human Capital and Labor Markets” calls for a shift in the labor sector’s development agenda by updating their skills and acquiring new competencies, and strengthening unemployment insurance.

ADRi fellow, Prof. Francisco “Kiko” Magno’s paper on “Governance agenda for development in a post COVID-19 Philippines” pursues reforms addressing shortcomings based on World Governance Indicators. 

Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza’s paper on “Reducing Inequality in the Philippines: Rationale and Reform Options” offers a framework for inequality reduction through reforms that focus on building strong social safety nets and enhancing competition in the market economy and political system. 

Independent political analyst Dr. Rizal G. Buendia’s paper on “Lessons and prospects in Philippine political governance: cutting across regimes from Marcos to Duterte” suggests the adoption of policies that bolster a transparent and accountable government to address issues of graft and corruption and the institutionalization of holistic governance.

Another ADRi fellow Prof. Renato C. De Castro’s paper “A National Security Strategy (NSS) for the 17th Philippine President: The Case for A Limited Balancing Strategy” proposes an 11-point formal grand strategy for the next President. 

On the other hand, “The Great Cauldron: China, US, and the New Cold War in the Indo-Pacific” paper by ADRi fellow Prof. Richard Heydarian advocates ‘integrated deterrence’ against Beijing’s coercive activities and strategic regional alignments to defend sovereign rights and territory.

Dr. Sherwin E. Ona’s special paper “Digitalization Agenda 2022: Towards a resilient Philippines through digital transformation and inclusion” proposes a citizen centric digital transformation of government into an integrated platform of services, digital inclusion that address access issues, and protection of the country’s digital infrastructure. 

You can read these and the other special policy papers in Stratbase ADRi’s Facebook page and website. 

God Bless our country with leaders who will best serve our country.

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