Two things caught my attention in the Twitterverse today: President Tsai Ing-wen’s tweet thanking the recognition of Taiwan’s effort to control the spread of Coronavirus disease (COVID)-19, and the infographic from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) showing that the Philippines might be acquiring the COVID vaccine only by the second quarter of 2022 to 2023. Both reveal how poorly the Philippines is handling the pandemic. But, just how different really are the COVID-19 responses of Taiwan and the Philippines?
According to Forbes, President Tsai Ing-wen implemented a rigorous contact-tracing program that only seven people died in Taiwan due to COVID-19. The contact tracing started as early as January, the month when the Philippines is still in denial of the existence of the virus in the archipelago. Taiwan also implemented strict border controls and entry policy in the first quarter of 2020 while the Philippines was, in the same period, still welcoming with open arms foreigners especially those coming from Wuhan and the mainland China.
One of the problems highlighted, if not created, by the Coronavirus disease (COVID) -19 pandemic is food insecurity or the lack of access to a sufficient, affordable and nutritious food. The pandemic disrupted the economy and caused unemployment which in turn affected the purchasing power of the people. Further, the community quarantines also affected the transportation systems that the delivery of food supplies from the farms to the consumers were cut or, if not, diverted to areas where local governments are not strict.
One of the governments with the most interesting way of handling the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is the Philippines. While the world was already showing concern over the virus, the Philippines is still permitting flights from places like China noted to be the Ground Zero of the virus. When the number of cases started to multiply, it was only then that the government acted. By March 2020, travel bans were imposed and this was eventually followed by the lockdown couched as “community quarantine”.
So, what makes the Phillipine Covid response interesting? What are the characteristics of the Duterte Administration’s efforts in responding to the current pandemic?
This explains why Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is dilly-dallying in replacing Health Secretary Francisco Duque who had been committing blunders in the battle against Coronavirus disease (Covid-19).