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CHING JORGE

PH education and the new normal

April 28, 2020

If last year's enrollment figures are to be a basis, the Philippine education system will be expecting around 27 million students to enroll in the Basic Education System in the coming school year. With the early closure of the school year in March, the enhanced community quarantine in effect, and the still unclear future that the COVID-19 pandemic will bring, the Department of Education (DepEd) and our millions of learners are facing enormous challenges.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129286/ph-education-and-the-new-normal


CIELITO F. HABITO

Giveaway oil, giveaway loans?

April 28, 2020

Something strange happened last week. For the first time in history, crude oil actually traded at nearly -$40 per barrel. Yes, negative $40! That means that oil sellers actually paid someone to take a barrel (about 42 gallons, or 159 liters) of crude oil off their hands. And did you know that some central banks had already adopted a negative interest rate policy, meaning, you'd have to pay your bank to hold your deposits, rather than earn interest from the money you effectively lent them? With the world seeing negative oil prices and negative interest rates, we must be in rather unusual times - and indeed we are.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129296/giveaway-oil-giveaway-loans


CIELITO F. HABITO

LUV after COVID-19

April 24, 2020

Can the Philippine economy rebound quickly after we get over the COVID-19 pandemic, and achieve a V-shaped recovery (meaning, a quick bounce back to where we were before, or better)? Or will the scenario moving forward look more like a U curve, dwelling at or near the bottom for a while before economic activity picks up again? Or could it even look like an L, dwelling at or near the bottom indefinitely, implying no significant recovery and restoration in the foreseeable future?

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129181/luv-after-covid-19


CIELITO F. HABITO

ECQ vs economy

April 21, 2020

It has been said that containment policies like the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) now on its sixth week "flatten the medical curve, but steepen the recession curve." The implication is that there is a direct tradeoff between safeguarding public health and saving lives on one hand, and maintaining economic stability and protecting people's economic well-being on the other. That is, the more we try to save lives from the pandemic, the deeper we are driving the economy down to ruin - and some argue that the cost to human lives could be worse.Economies have indeed been brought to a virtual standstill as most economic activities have been suspended, except for essential goods and services, and people are confined to their homes, allowed only a minimum of movement. The International Monetary Fund swung from an upbeat global economic growth forecast of 3.3 percent in January, down to a dramatically scaled down 0.6 percent, and now to a rather grim -3 percent - all in a matter of weeks, and with a caveat that this may still be too optimistic.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/129080/ecq-vs-economy


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

[OPINION] The Midnight Show

April 18, 2020

After so many appearances, I have to ask: What is the purpose of the Midnight Show? What is it achieving? It is not a press conference, as the first one was originally billed; no independent media were present. Some analysts suggest that the program enables Executive compliance with the Bayanihan Act requirement for a weekly report on the exercise of emergency powers and its results. I wonder if the show meets the accountability reporting requirements of the law.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/258356-the-midnight-show-duterte


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Winning without lockdown

April 17, 2020

South Korea took rapid, intrusive measures against COVID-19 and they worked," bannered British newspaper The Guardian last March 20. In late February, South Korea was tagged the new epicenter for the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of daily new cases doubling in less than two days at a time when China's numbers had already been easing, and lockdowns there being relaxed. Yet within three weeks, the Koreans had the virus convincingly under control. The Ministry of Economy and Finance (MOEF), in a paper describing the Korean COVID-19 approach, declared: "So far, Korea is the only country with a population of over 50 million that has slowed the spread of the virus, and flattened the curve of new infections without shutting down the country nor the city at the epicenter of the outbreak..."

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128972/winning-without-lockdown#ixzz6JpOCtIyZ


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Underused weapon

April 14, 2020

In interviews I've seen of officials from South Korea and Singapore on their handling of the COVID-19 crisis, I've been struck at the emphasis they gave to digital tools and apps as critical to how they managed the spread of the pandemic in their own countries. But from what I'm seeing, it looks like information and communication technology (ICT) and data science have been buried deep in the box of technology tools our government has so far deployed in the fight against COVID-19. Pharmacology and epidemiology are of course necessarily prominent, but as a potent weapon against the pandemic, ICT seems to have been relegated to the background.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128875/underused-weapon#ixzz6JpO3NsZJ


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

[ANALYSIS] People's health or economy? It's a false choice

April 14, 2020

Protecting lives protects the economy. That said, the issue of saving the economy remains. Here are some recommendations. Key Philippine government officials and business leaders decided on the side of prudence in declining to risk the premature lifting of the COVID-19 lockdown. They thus rejected the false choice pushed by some of their counterparts in the United States: save the lives of the people or the life of the economy.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/257699-analysis-people-health-or-economy-false-choice


EDILBERTO C. DE JESUS

[OPINION] Acting local against COVID-19

April 09, 2020

With a government that is not exceptionally wise, just, and benevolent, one nationally mandated decision can cause damage to all Covid-19 casts a fresh light on the merits of unitary and federal governance systems. In the federalized United States, party affiliations tend to shape the orientation towards national or state power. Republicans prefer to limit federal powers over the states and intrusion into their affairs. Although now controlling the most populous and wealthiest states, like California and New York, Democrats see a greater need for Big Government.

Read more: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/257377-opinion-acting-local-against-covid-19


CIELITO F. HABITO

No Free Lunch: Who can work from home?

April 07, 2020

The enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been in place in Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon has forced people, except those in essential industries, either to work from home, if that's possible for what they do, or to stop work altogether. Those who can work from home are more fortunate, as their incomes would have only been partially curtailed at most. But those for whom the feasibility of working from home is nil, very difficult, or only minimally productive have lost the ability to earn most or all of their usual incomes. They are the ones to whom government must target social amelioration assistance.

Read more: https://opinion.inquirer.net/128687/who-can-work-from-home#ixzz6JpNu5wTI