Filipinos urged: Elect ‘collaborative’, not ‘divisive’, leaders to help PH weather COVID-19 pandemic

Published January 18, 2022, 3:09 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

As the May 9 national and local elections draw near, the public should elect “collaborative” leaders who will inspire confidence among investors and undertake programs with the private sector in good faith and mutual respect to boost economic recovery amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to think tank group Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi).

Stratbase President Andres “Dindo” Manhit (File photo /ADRi/ Facebook)

In a statement Monday, Jan. 17, the Stratbase ADRi said that the government should “ride the momentum of collaboration with the private sector” to establish long-term and sustainable programs especially in the digital sphere.

“Investments in technology contemplate the future; they generate exponential benefits not only to today’s Filipinos but the next generation,” said Professor Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, president of Stratbase ADRi.

He said the pandemic highlighted the urgent need to adapt to technological advancements so that they can keep up with their professional and personal lives.

“We learned it was possible to buy our groceries or medicine, talk to a doctor, and conduct our banking affairs online. Our children went to school online. Connectivity became a basic human need,” Manhit said.

But Manhit acknowledged that the government has its hands full with responding to the pandemic and to other problems like endemic corruption.

“The logical course of action is to turn to the private sector as an indispensable partner. Filipinos do not only know that the private sector is important to our national progress. They are also aware of how the private sector can help achieve it,” said Manhit.

One of the most crucial events in the coming months is the national and local polls on May 9 and Manhit said this is the best way to choose the next set of leaders who could steer the country to progress with the help of the private sector.

Manhit said the pandemic should have “provided the government with clear insight into what the country needs to achieve its digital potential.”

He said the government should recognize that the private sector “has the wherewithal and the expertise” to build and maintain such initiatives, and they should actively pursue this collaboration “to enable more Filipinos to cross the digital divide.”

He also emphasized the need to empower Filipinos through training and upskilling so that they “can make the most out of the available digital technologies.”

“The private sector has the best interests of the country in mind and would gladly step up to the challenge if given the opportunity to thrive in a stable and supportive regulatory environment and good governance,” Manhit said.