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JUAN MIGUEL LUZ

[ANALYSIS] How ready are our basic education schools for the 2020 school opening?

July 27, 2020

Basic education schools in the Philippines are scheduled to open no later than August 24, 2020 with a major difference - there will be no face-to-face classes in areas where the COVID-19 pandemic infection rate is high and limited face-to-face classes elsewhere. That means that education services will take place in one of 4 ways: (a) Face-to-face; (b) Distance learning; (c) Blended learning; and (d) Homeschooling. There are a number of daunting challenges that need to be addressed and overcome for distance education to be efficiently and effectively delivered

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132070/when-work-from-home-wont-work


CIELITO F. HABITO

NO FREE LUNCH: When work from home won't work

July 24, 2020

A new study in the growing economic literature on WFH suggests so. This is because the occupations that lend themselves to WFH, hence less affected by the lockdowns imposed in most pandemic-hit countries, are not the occupations of the more disadvantaged groups in society. That is, white-collar jobs are more likely to persist under WFH arrangements, but blue-collar or menial jobs-jobs held mostly by the poorer segments of society-cannot. With 7.25 million Filipino workers rendered jobless as of April and unemployment hitting close to one in every five workers (17.7 percent), the already dire employment situation could take a long while to return to what we've been accustomed to. And the less workers are able to continue their jobs working from home, the more difficult it would be for them to restore normalcy in their lives.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/132070/when-work-from-home-wont-work


JUAN MIGUEL LUZ

[ANALYSIS] School opening 2020: Immediate concerns, longer-term structural reforms

July 21, 2020

We are preparing for school opening in late August 2020. We know there will be a major disruption in the education system. But in fact, we will need to prepare for 3 disruptions in basic education (K-12) over 3 time periods.

Read more: https://rappler.com/voices/thought-leaders/analysis-school-opening-immediate-concerns-longer-term-st


CIELITO F. HABITO

NO FREE LUNCH: A fake democracy?

July 21, 2020

Are we truly a democratic country? The Democracy Index compiled by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit classifies the Philippines as a "flawed democracy," defined as states scoring between 6 and 8 on a scale of 0 to 10. The index combines five categories of democratic attributes: (1) electoral process and pluralism, (2) functioning of government, (3) political participation, (4) political culture, and (5) civil liberties. We scored highest (9.17) in the first attribute (although I question this below) and lowest in the fourth (4.38). We also scored low (5.36) in functioning of government. Numerical scores aside, and knowing that any index based on perception surveys can be subject to question from either side, it is perhaps more interesting to examine more qualitative indicators of how well we hew to the form of government we claim to have. I do not claim to be a political expert myself, but we can look at what the political scientists have to say on what it takes to be a democracy, and see how we measure up.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131964/a-fake-democracy


CIELITO F. HABITO

COVID-19 and our 'Blue Economy'

July 17, 2020

With water making up the bulk of Philippine territory-four-fifths, counting our exclusive economic zones as defined by the United Nations-why is very little of our gross domestic product contributed by our water-based economy (the "Blue Economy")? Fisheries and water transport contribute a mere 1.5 percent of incomes in our economy, measured as GDP. Adding water-based recreation, offshore natural gas and other miscellaneous economic activities based or dependent on our waters won't bring the share much beyond that. And yet I've always maintained that a square kilometer of our inland or marine waters could well contain at least as much if not more potential economic wealth than a similar area of our undeveloped lands.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131839/covid-19-and-our-blue-economy


CIELITO F. HABITO

Future-proofing the Philippines

July 14, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most difficult challenges facing us as a nation is how to resume the education of our children and youth when gathering them in their classrooms remains very risky. The Department of Education (DepEd) is planning on the use of online platforms, blended learning, and televisions and radios. But serious questions hound the feasibility and effectiveness of these delivery modes for learning. How ready are we to implement these modes of delivery? How ready is the DepEd with the substance and content for online, television, or radio-transmitted learning modules needed for all levels of basic education from Grades K to 12? But a more prior question is: How sure are we that we could reach all school-aged children around the country with these modes of delivery, and ensure that no student is left behind?

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131743/no-one-left-behind-3


CIELITO F. HABITO

Future-proofing the Philippines

July 09, 2020

A picture making the rounds in the internet shows a diver about to be devoured from below by a shark, jaws wide open, labeled "COVID-19." Directly under it is a bigger shark labeled "The Upcoming Economic Crisis," poised to eat the first shark and its prey. Underneath them all is a huge shark, similarly with jaws wide open, poised to take them all in. That giant shark is labeled "Climate Change."

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131611/future-proofing-the-philippines


CIELITO F. HABITO

The specter of a worse normal

July 07, 2020

"Never let a serious crisis go to waste" is a quote we hear repeated so often lately. The underlying message in current usage is that the drastic upheaval the COVID-19 crisis has brought upon us provides a great opportunity for drastic reforms otherwise difficult to pursue in more normal times. Everyone would like to see a better "new normal" emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic, and now is our best chance to make some fundamental changes to achieve it. But change is a double-edged sword. Some would also use the upheaval to pursue less than noble ends. A dangerous example that has come to my attention is an apparently last-minute insertion into Section 12 of the House of Representatives' approved version of the economic stimulus bill (House Bill No. 6815) dubbed ARISE (Accelerated Recovery and Investments Stimulus for the Economy).

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/131515/the-specter-of-a-worse-normal


RONALD U. MENDOZA AND DION L. ROMANO

The Philippines Anti-Terrorism Act: Who Guards the Guardians?

July 06, 2020

In a move that surprised many, in early June 2020 amid the Philippines' COVID-19 pandemic challenges, President Rodrigo Duterte certified as "urgent" the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. In just a matter of days, the House of Representatives dispensed with any further review process and accepted the Senate version of the bill, then promptly sent it to the president for signature. On July 3, Duterte signed this bill into law, notwithstanding calls for him to veto it. Early on, the bill generated extensive backlash and critique from different sectors across youth groups, academia, church, business, and civil society. Critics had a number of objections: ill timing; credibility issues among the implementing agencies; the risk of abuse; and potentially unconstitutional provisions. The law created division when it should have unified the country against the rising threat of terrorism. This article provides a sober review of terrorism issues in the Philippines, and hopefully helps promote a better understanding toward a unified way forward.

Read more: https://thediplomat.com/2020/07/the-philippines-anti-terrorism-act-who-guards-the-guardians/


LUIS ABAD, JC PUNONGBAYAN, ZY-ZA SUZARA, AND RUPERT MANGILIT

[ANALYSIS] How the Senate can save us from Duterte's ailing pandemic response

July 03, 2020

Filipinos today are desperate for decisive leadership. Millions of lives and livelihoods are at stake. But Duterte's incompetence is more manifest than ever. Even if granted special powers and much discretion by Congress, he has failed to demonstrate decisive leadership. (READ: Pandemic unravels Duterte's 2016 promise of decisive leadership) With the Executive severely lacking in energy, imagination, and compassion - and the House too eager to pass an ill-conceived economic rescue package - it's now up to the Senate to come up with a solid, sound supplemental budget that will force Duterte and his economic managers to change their ways and rethink their priorities.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/265575-analysis-how-senate-save-duterte-ailing-pandemic-resp