By ERIK ESPINA
Globalization and “think global” were mantra in our post- graduate course in 1997 for the country, stepping into liberalized markets for trade and commerce, etc., as add-on to traditional trading partners. A world-community, interconnected also at various levels, political, science, technology, culture, etc. Philippine products with export standards, was the way to survive and prosper. This trend, was worrisome, for an economy unprepared for the influx/dumping of foreign goods. There were also “national security threats” in a sadly porous (besieged by subsisting and multifaceted problems) Philippine state. We would inherit as well, the world’s supplemental and adverse by-products — e.g. cultural and social influences, plus diseases. “Insularity” (degrees of nationalism-isolationism) in 1997 was counter-weight to globalism. Meaning, self-reliance and survival, e.g. food security, national defense, burgeoning industrial, manufacturing, and agricultural sector, cultural harmony/cohesion, etc.
The coronavirus is one such challenge, endangering our way of life. We should have responded ASAP during the January 23 announcement of China. A National Security Council meeting must be convened by the Palace to identify and prepare for worse-case scenarios with graduated responses, such as travel bans, isolation, quarantines, lock-downs, to one-month national vacations. Social distancing in schools, churches, etc., including governance survival. The mind-set is war-time footing, highest levels of precaution with draconian internal protocols as everyone is susceptible.
Dr. Gabriel Leung, one of the foremost experts on SARS and viruses, dean of Hong Kong Medical School, warns of exponential infection – 45 to 60 million if unchecked. Extra anxiety – not panic — will give us the motivation, by acting in a unified way, accepting the new modality.