As Metro Manila eases restrictions after a two-week Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), this raises the question of whether or not the government has done or has been doing enough in its COVID-19 response.
In a radio interview with Bombo Radyo Dagupan on August 18, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said government must have a roadmap that follows what he called “MAPA”: Mindset, Attitude, Plan, and Action.
He said the said concept presents a simple rule of thumb when it comes to a good and responsive system to address the pandemic.
Mindset and Attitude
Cayetano said a proper pandemic response needs to start from a good mindset, with the government presenting itself as an institution where people can freely address their concerns.
“Minsan kasi ang dating sa tao, y’ung gobyerno parang umiiwas kapag may problema, o hindi nagbibigay ng solusyon,” he said.
(Sometimes people see the government as evasive when there are problems, or that it doesn’t even give or offer solutions).
“We are solutions looking for problems,” he added.
As for its attitude, Cayetano said the government proactive, not reactive, in addressing problems.
“If we are always reactive, mahuhuli tayo…Kailangan natin unahan and problema,” he said.
(We will always be behind if we are reactive. To be proactive, we have to think of contingencies before a problem forms).
Plan and Action
With the proper mindset and attitude, the government can now create a plan, particularly for the sectors most affected by the pandemic.
This includes the tourism industry, the service sector, microenterprises, and the agricultural industry.
But Cayetano said having a plan is just part of the solution: it is through action that the plan will come to fruition.
“Tayo magaling tayo sa relief, pero di masyado sa recovery. Kung nagbibigay tayo ng sampung libo at kung meron tayong stimulus sa mga maliliit na negosyo, mas makakarevocer tayo,” Cayetano said.
(We are good at executing relief operations, but we don’t think about recovery. If we were to give P10,000 to every family, or have a sufficient stimulus for microenterprises, then these measures will ensure long-term recovery).
Cayetano also emphasized that the government should copy basic practices of nations and cities that have handled the COVID-19 pandemic well.
“Hindi ito exam na bawal magkopyahan,” he said.
(This isn’t like an exam where you can’t copy another person’s work.)