Up ahead for next president: COVID-19, China, corruption
I have been living in the Philippines since 2004 and I have come to love this country. So I am concerned about who will lead the country after the May 2022 elections.
A change of direction is desirable. The next president will face very big tasks that whoever wins is not to be envied. The biggest challenge is likely to be the COVID-19 pandemic, whose impact will be with us for a long time to come. It is not yet certain whether the pandemic will end in an endemic situation after the mild Omicron variant, and whether the concerns about it will be negligible. By the time a disease becomes endemic, a relatively large number of people have already contracted it or been vaccinated. The number of people who become seriously ill is then significantly reduced compared to the acute phase of the pandemic.
In addition, there are foreign policy issues with China. These must be solved in a diplomatic, peaceful way and that requires a thinking president, not one with a macho demeanor and muscular strength.
As far as the endless fight against corruption in this country is concerned, we have made very little progress in the last six years; President Duterte himself personally confirmed this.
Even military conflicts are not excluded from the incoming president’s concerns. What if the conflict in Europe between Ukraine and Russia escalates militarily and, in the end, even gets NATO involved? What if China simultaneously attacks Taiwan with military means and thus initiates its reunification through an invasion? In such situations, we need a president who can keep us away from military adventures. A country hit hard by the coronavirus like the Philippines cannot race into a war. The priority of the president should therefore be the pandemic. Many people are suffering from depression (I pay for this myself and freely admit it) and afraid of losing their livelihood. Financial problems are no longer just exceptional cases but the new normal. It is about putting food on the table that counts. During my internship as a scientific assistant in a biosafety laboratory level 4, my professor said: “Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” There is nothing to add.
DR. JÜRGEN SCHÖFER
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