"We need a leader who can maneuver us through crises, see through the pandemic scars, and lead us well to the path of growth and recovery."
The upcoming 2022 elections will be a defining point in our COVID-19 recovery. Forecasts say that this pandemic may last until next year. As this is expected, the next president will most likely face head-on the challenge of continuing and/or possibly improving the country’s COVID-19 response.
As I said last week, the pandemic may be the perfect gauge in assessing a candidate’s competency in leading the country. We have been engulfed with problems of almost all sorts. With the devolution of government functions, some of the COVID-19 policy planning and most of the program implementation are left to the local government units. Hence, against a local backdrop, it is easy to recognize the accomplishments and performance of our candidates, as COVID-19 response primarily revolves around the implementation of minimum health protocols, community lockdowns, distribution of vaccines and relief, and support to hospitals and COVID-19 health facilities.
However, the work does not stop there. Apart from the locally visible measures, COVID-19 response involves a global effort. Nations come together to help. International facilities such as COVAX help countries obtain the much needed vaccines. Hence, international relations are very much active now, especially that several countries are producing their own vaccines and selling them to countries with higher COVID-19 infections.
Thus, let me emphasize that the work of a national leader is not confined to local response. The next president must not only be good in addressing issues within, but also competent in international matters. We need a leader who can assure us of and provide us the needed vaccines and re-ignite foreign investments amidst the pandemic. We need a leader who can represent the country globally. The world has changed. Our leaders should be able to maintain and strengthen relations with foreign countries, conduct themselves appropriately in bilateral or multilateral talks, and actively engage other nations to help the Philippines.
As the general fate of the country will lie in the hands of the next president, we need to carefully assess and select our choices. The role of the president is far more comprehensive than being the chief implementer of laws and national policies. The president also serves as the chief executive, chief architect of foreign policy, commander-in-chief, and chief appointing authority. Hence, the next president will have to deal not only with the multifarious challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but also of post-pandemic development.
We need a leader who can maneuver us through crises, see through the pandemic scars, and lead us well to the path of growth and recovery.