Building on the foundation

INTROSPECTIVE - Tony F. Katigbak - The Philippine Star

The new administration is coming in this July. What does that mean for the current administration’s programs, policies, and ongoing projects? Will it be better because the incoming and outgoing administration are connected? Does that mean that ongoing programs will be properly carried out to fruition? Or will we again be like an Etch-A-Sketch where new leaders come in and go back to square one? Hopefully not.

That has always been a problem in politics. Once new leaders get elected, they spend most of their time redoing or even undoing what the former leader did so they can implement their own policies and programs. While it’s understandable that some changes need to be made when new leaders with new platforms arrive, it’s detrimental to spend time going backward instead of moving ahead.

Instead of focusing on changing everything, we would benefit significantly if new leaders looked at what was working and built on the foundation. That way, we don’t have to take two steps back just to take one step forward. We can keep moving by building on what was already laid out and improving it.

To be fair, the problem of discontinuation is not a Philippines problem exclusively. This often happens in many countries and with many leaders. It almost seems like it’s required for new leaders to come in and remove or rearrange everything that came before. And while, again, there is some merit to getting things a specific way to help meet new leadership goals, it’s hard to believe that nothing that existed previously is worth continuing.

As the new administration comes in, they would be well served to see what is working and build on it. They can also check what has worked in the past and revive projects that were previously stopped. We must make hefty investments in agriculture, energy, and education, among many other essential focus areas. We have had many programs that worked in these areas before that are worth looking into again.

It’s been a long past two years, and it will continue to take time to recover from the pandemic. Economic recovery is not going to happen overnight. At this point, there is no need for us to go back to square one. We should remain focused on the future and invest in the best ways to emerge stronger and more resilient.

After all, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that everything can change in the blink of an eye. Let’s keep moving forward and future-proofing our policies and programs so that we are always prepared no matter what happens. That’s the only way to ensure that we remain better prepared. I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised by what we can achieve if we focus on working together.

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As we await the incoming administration, we continue adapting to the newest new normal. After all, it’s not just the government that must focus on future-proofing. Similarly, we also have to create our personal protocols and policies for how we want to live our lives coming out of the global health crisis.

In the Philippines, safety protocols remain. They are still more strict than in other countries like the United States, where masking is already optional, and social distancing is a thing of the past. In comparison, while distancing protocols are challenging to maintain in the Philippines, masking and handwashing remains in effect for the most part. It’s a small price to prevent further spikes and problems.

Health and safety officials remain focused on promoting vaccines and boosters in locals, but with lower uptake. It’s essential to get as many people vaccinated and boosted as possible to ensure safety against any new variants or strains. For the most part, the protection provided by vaccines and boosters, alongside the natural immunity of those who have been infected, has been sufficient to prevent any new waves of significance.

Officials predicted a slight resurgence due to the lowering of restrictions, and more and more people being back out again. However, it still seems that cases aren’t spiking, and hospitalization remains low. It’s important to get more people boosted and protected, especially senior citizens or the immunocompromised, so that should be the health sector’s main focus in the months ahead.

As for the rest of us, we need to maintain our minimum health and safety protocols and be proactive instead of reactive. For companies that can work with a hybrid model, let’s continue to find ways to prevent an onslaught of people on the road and in the offices whenever possible. This is not only good for health and safety, but also in helping mitigate inflation and rising gas prices.

As much as we might like to go back to the way things were before, we would be doing ourselves a severe disservice by pretending that things just aren’t the same as they were before. We need to create a better and more sustainable normal if we want to future-proof and build resiliency.


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