30 June 2020 – Under its Philippines Project, ISEAS successfully hosted its second seminar through online platform last 17 June entitled “Building Back Better: Philippines’ Pandemic Recovery.”
Moderated by Dr. Malcolm Cook, Coordinator of the ISEAS Philippines Project, the webinar featured Dr. Ronald U. Mendoza as speaker, Dean of the Ateneo School of Government
Dr. Mendoza’s presentation addressed how the Philippines can build a better post-pandemic ‘normal’ and enhance the policy reform agenda of the government as it shifts its focus from crisis response to crisis recovery. Using the experience of other countries, such as Taiwan and South Korea, as models, Dr. Mendoza discussed how the Philippines’ own pandemic recovery phase can be used as an opportunity to reform the country’s public healthcare system.
Playing on the government’s popular “Build, Build, Build” slogan, Dr. Mendoza coined the term “Build Back Better” to emphasize a more pro-active approach given the realities that the Philippines finds itself in, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing economic and social impacts.
Dr. Mendoza believes that the Philippines is still capable of maneuvering itself amidst the economic impact of the pandemic given that it has fiscal space, enough headroom to borrow, and revenues to reallocate.
Building upon the Duterte’s administration’s Universal Health Care Law, Dr. Mendoza stressed the need in the Philippines for a universal public health insurance system with low co-payment requirements.
During the open forum, Dr. Mendoza highlighted the Philippines’ archipelagic nature as an advantage in that it makes it more resilient to pandemics. This should hopefully further encourage the government to diversify its economic development efforts outside of Metro Manila and southern Luzon.
Over 90 participants tuned in from the Philippines, Singapore and other countries.
The ISEAS Philippines Project is a result of the Donation Agreement signed between the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute on 04 December 2019 to promote the pursuit of Philippine Studies. The Philippine Studies initiative has been championed by Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, which saw similar agreements being signed with various European and North American institutes and universities in conjunction with the DFA’s cultural diplomacy thrust through academic exchanges. END