"But when will they be available?"
Santa Banana, when President Duterte did not spell out his roadmap during the fifth State-of-the-Nation Address, many people criticized him – I admit I was among them.
There must be reason he did not lay down his plans, I thought.
True enough, now comes Duterte saying that he did not communicate his plan because he was still waiting for a vaccine and cure before we even start talking about economic recovery. Well that makes sense.
But, my gulay, when will the much-awaited cure come? Nobody knows for sure.
In any case, we should be comforted by the pronouncement of the chief of our economic managers, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who says we are on our way to economic recovery, I know Sonny; I covered him when he was secretary of agriculture during the time of President Cory. I believe him when he says that our fiscal position is sound, inflation is low and the peso strong. All these make our economy stable.
Still, I believe that President Duterte should make COVID-19 solutions a priority above all else.
What makes me anxious is that the President has extended the General Community Quarantine in Metro Manila until August 15 despite the plea of health experts that COVID cases here may reach 150,000 by the end of the month.
I think we should return to Enhanced Community Quarantine to stop the surge.
Duterte should also correct his priorities on who would get the vaccine once it is available. He said he would give it to the poorest of the poor, the military and the police. I suggest he include frontliners in this list. There are also the senior citizens who deserve all the help from government.
I have nothing against the military and the police, but I think the vaccine should be given to the rank and file – not their bosses who could afford to buy the vaccine.
Least deserving of the free vaccine are high government officials including Cabinet members and lawmakers.
I think we can overcome the pandemic with prayers and sacrifices. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines should make us understand that the pandemic is happening because we have forgotten God.
Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion made a logical suggestion on what the government can do for business and industry until the end of the year, what with the Christmas season fast approaching.
Planning, after all, is essential in business. Without it, no business would prosper. Most heads of business chambers are now urging the President to extend the GCQ health protocols to avoid instability. This makes sense to me.
Concepcion spearheaded a private sector initiative called Project Ark to fund COVID-19 testing for 10,000 people for every city.
It is now clear that red tape in local government units are responsible in the delay of improvement in telecom services from Smart and Globe.
President Duterte had castigated both companies for poor performance and warned them of a dire future if they did not shape up.
But, Santa Banana, it takes eight months just to have an application for a cell site processed and approved. This is unacceptable!
The president of Globe said they also had to deal with many kinds of fees before a new cell site can be put up. Duterte told him to just file a complaint.
Globe and Smart need at least 50,000 towers.
The President must ensure that red tape is reduced!