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Solutions, strategic direction urged amid health crisis

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Top political analysts called for urgent solutions and more strategic direction to the health and economic crisis during the recent post-State of the Nation (SONA) virtual town hall discussion hosted by think tank Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi).

Judge Raul Pangalangan of the International Criminal Court and Stratbase ADRi Trustee said: “We’ve got the biggest crisis of all, the pandemic which threatens our health and our economy, but it is also an opportunity for well-meaning Filipinos to forge a solidarity unknown in ordinary time and possibly even if fleetingly bring forth the fictive nation that cuts across the lines of social class that divide us today.”

Pangalangan added: “This SONA comes at a time where many nations around the globe have recognized the arbitral award on the South China Sea rendered at the permanent court of arbitration at the Hague. If we listen to the SONA this Monday, the President’s position on this matter depends on which part of the speech you heard.”

“Notice that the categorical affirmation of the triumph at the Hague early on in the speech was somehow diluted towards the end,” he said.

“Monday this week was the turn of the President to declare what he considered the State of the Nation. Today and the days following is the turn of the Filipino Nation to speak its many voices, and to say what dreams and hopes that began in 2016 remain alive and kicking in 2021,” Pangalangan said.

Stratbase ADRi President Prof. Dindo Manhit, in his opening remarks, said: “We need to mitigate the contingent and enduring consequences of this health crisis. The President should have given the people a reality check and a clear direction for economic recovery in his final year in office, which were not evident in his final State of the Nation Address.”

“I would say that since 2016 we have suffered a pandemic of disinformation. Hopefully, collectively as a society, independent institutions, the media, people in social media, should realize that it is time for us to look for these types of candidates, not based on political narratives or spins.”

Dr. Edilberto de Jesus, professor emeritus and former president of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and former Education Secretary, said: “Clearly the (drug) problem had been oversimplified into a law and order issue, which experts are telling us the drug problem is not.”

“It was also a public health issue; it was also a poverty issue, and the problem was that this approach to the drug problem tended to spill over into his approach to other concerns such as the pandemic taken mainly as a law enforcement problem.”

“The consequence of this approach was that it reinforced an oversimplified approach to serious, complicated, complex governance issues including the issue of the pandemic and the issue of national security,” De Jesus added.

“I have found difficult to understand but the review of his administration from national bodies and intellectuals, as well as foreign reviews of his success always focused on his ability to retain the trust and approval of the populace and I think this is one of the things that we will need to address moving forward,” he said.

Former Ombudsman Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales said: “(President Duterte) said he was going to curtail the drug problem in six months. It’s been more than five years, but today the drug problem has not been controlled.”

“And In fact, I think it’s getting worse. Every day, we almost get daily accounts of drugs being imported to the country and probably coming from China,” Carpio-Morales said.

“Although the president was not ready to mention the name of China because well, as he is known by everybody, he loves Xi Jin Ping and, therefore he was careful enough not to displease his ‘inamorata,’” she added.

“As far as the President’s claims of achievements are concerned, which have been proven to be inaccurate, I am reminded of that quote, which says ‘Kind nature consoles with shadows for lack of substantial. The thirsty man dreams of fountains and running streams, the hungry men of banquets, and the poor man of heaps of hidden gold, nothing is more opulent than the imagination of the beggar,’” Carpio-Morales said.


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