Pause and plan
BAR NONE - Atty. Ian Vincent Manticajon (The Freeman) - March 31, 2020 - 12:00am

I still see people acting like we will still be going ahead with stalled plans and back to the life as we knew it prior to this coronavirus pandemic. They anticipate things going back to normal after three weeks or a couple more. Some have plans already what they will be doing after this, pledging to hit the ground back running when this is all over.

I’m sorry to say this. No, we’re not going back to the way it used to be.

Yes, this virus will pass. But it would be sad if, when this is all over, we go on with our lives like this deadly pandemic did not happen. It would be pathetic when we simply continue along the road of the annual plans and goals laid down in our companies, organizations or institutions before COVID-19 struck.

It would be tragic, really, if we find ourselves in the same reactionary mode we have found ourselves today – if we fail to learn and act from our efforts in this crisis.

America’s foremost expert on infectious disease, the unassuming and most sought after Dr. Anthony Stephen Fauci, has warned that the coronavirus can come back in “cycles” and we need to be prepared for it to return seasonally. And even when a vaccine will be available for mass production in 12 to 18 months, there are still climate change-related threats that may include another destructive outbreak of a new infectious disease.

We cannot, of course, allow such threat to prevent us from leading productive and meaningful lives. Many jobs will be lost even as new ones will be created. We must continue to hope and work for a better future for ourselves and our children.

But first, accept the fact that life as we knew it should and will change. Life must adjust to the threat of another round of pandemic.

Pope Francis, in his homily during the Urbi et Orbi blessing last Saturday, said: “The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities.” Let’s take heed of these words.

For most of us who are confined at home because we’re not among those exempted from the lockdown, we can use this time to pause and reflect; to identify what false and superfluous shell in which we have covered our working lives and lifestyle that we can break free from. We can come up with new ideas and plans within our company or organization.

Stop acting like you can continue to work at home with the same tasks and work load along the same plans your organization made prior to this crisis. Tell that to your manager, supervisor, school dean, business associate, or client if he or she still does not get it.

I can offer a few suggestions. For instance, to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Supreme Court, it’s time to work on revising the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice to include electronic or remote online notarization and establish safeguards for it. E-notarization is no longer new in several jurisdictions in the United States and some countries in Europe. Now is the time to adopt it.

To the national government agencies and local government units, it has become more urgent to level up your e-governance platforms in order for most public services to continue even during a community quarantine. Most e-governance websites today are still stuck in information delivery and have not yet modernized toward electronic service delivery including interaction and transaction.

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