Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement
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This, too, shall pass

"I join the call for the resumption of infrastructure projects in the country."

 

This, too, shall pass. Filipinos are resilient. Despite catastrophes and calamities, our spirits remain strong and hopeful as we manage to rise above adversities. With God’s help, we are able to overcome obstacles and difficulties in life. In this pandemic, as we continue praying, hoping, and waiting for an effective treatment against COVID-19, let us examine how we can speed up our recovery as a nation.

For the past years, the administration has relied on the potential of the Build, Build, Build program in boosting economic development. The infrastructure program of the government has generated employment and growth in the construction sector, and has attracted foreign investors and industries in various parts of the country. However, the COVID-19 halted most of the country’s economic activities, including government infrastructure projects. The current situation, should it continue, will result in millions of Filipinos losing their jobs as it will be impossible to return to the old normal anytime soon.

It was only recently that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the resumption of Build, Build, Build projects in the country. Economic managers believe in the potential of the Build, Build, Build in easing and speeding up national economic recovery. Just this week, the proposed Philippine Economic Stimulus Act, which includes an enhanced Build, Build, Build program, was approved by the special House panel on COVID-19.

With this, I join the call for the resumption of infrastructure projects in the country. We should concentrate on building more roads, bridges, water systems, and health facilities to pave the way for the gradual resumption of economic activities in the country. While we may rely on the private sector for the needed economic impetus, we also have to continue to move to mitigate potential economic slump from this pandemic. Infrastructure development is a stimulus for growth as it bridges the gap between production and consumption through adequate farm-to-market roads and agricultural facilities; addresses social inequalities through more public health facilities and employment opportunities; and boosts rural and countryside development by facilitating the establishment of industries outside Metro cities. By the time we defeat this pandemic, the country has to be primed to revive not only our economy but even the daily activities of the ordinary Filipino.

We have to make use of this time to prepare. Let those able-bodied members of society return to work, provided that minimum health standards are strictly observed, mass testing is conducted, and protective equipment are in place to prevent COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. Allow returning workers from the Balik Probinsya program to participate in their local infrastructure projects to have an alternative source of income. Little by little, let us address the gap in our road networks so that, in the near future, traffic congestion will be significantly minimized. Let us build more schools and classrooms to help prevent overcrowding once classes start. More importantly, let us expedite the building of public health facilities to hasten the implementation of necessary measures against COVID-19.

I believe in the capability and the remarkable resilience of Filipinos. In the midst of this quarantine, let us focus on what we can do to gradually prevail over these challenges. With preparation coupled with adequate health precaution, I am optimistic that we will come out on par with other successful nations after this battle against COVID-19.

Topics: Danilo Suarez , Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases , IATF-EID , coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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