One thing the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching the world is that it is important for communities, both at local and at national levels, to be self sufficient. The drastic equalising effect of this global disaster can be felt in the accelerated dismantling of the fragile international inter-dependencies built up over decades of the “globalisation” frenzy.
Rich countries are slowly coming to terms with the wasteland that was their once formidable manufacturing sectors. As international trade grinds to a halt, the prospect of struggling to source the most essential products — ventilators for the sick, spare parts for machinery, material for food packaging, toilet paper — is facing many First World economic managers. In hindsight it becomes easy to see the ravages caused by the disproportionate trust entire governments had put on big corporate “strategy” even as they sacrificed sensible regulation and governance at the altar of “global trade”.
The whole idea that the transformation of an economy from a manufacturing-based one to a services-based one is “progress” is being turned on its head. Wealthy countries that had outsourced enormous swathes of manufacturing capability to China and other cheap-labour countries are now faced with the daunting task of propping up national economies that merely swirl money around to create “value” through trade, services, and consumption but, disturbingly, could no longer make tangible things like machines, devices, cars, and, yes, toilet paper. Indeed, it is interesting to note that the old World War II axis powers supposedly “defeated” in that great war — Germany and Japan — are amongst the few rich countries that could still make things on their own.
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Even embattled former Nazi ally Italy which is saddled with the worst impacts of the pandemic still has one local manufacturer of ventilators it can rely on. Italy’s Siare Engineering is now rising to a call to action to step up production of a “key weapon” in the war against the novel coronavirus. It is a call very likely not received by a private enterprise from its national government since the Second World War. Decisions and actions were made swiftly. “[Siare company head Gianluca Preziosa] managed to redirect already sold ventilators bound for Asia” back to Italian hospitals where they are desperately needed, and;
As hospitals in Lombardy started to receive these first ventilators, Preziosa had to quickly rethink the assembly of his life-saving machines to fulfill the Italian government’s order. “Usually, each worker is responsible for putting together a whole unit themselves, bringing together the ten sections, from the wheel base to the monitor. Now we had to make a new work flow where people focused just on making one section.”
This and other such demonstrations of quick response to a national effort will likely define the new world order that could arise in the aftermath of this global pandemic. Economic independence — consuming and using stuff you are capable of building and growing in your own backyard — will come back into vogue as entire governments realise the wisdom of living within one’s domestic means. This does not mean global trade will disappear. It just means that outsourcing to the cheap and importing from the cheap will no longer be regarded as the necessarily most sensible default business decision.
The Philippines is a particular case study of vulnerability at so many levels. Like many First World countries, it is hobbled by a manufacturing sector severely-atrophied by decades of globalisation. However, unlike those countries, most of which have strong industrial traditions, the Philippines is not in a position to rebuild manufacturing capacity from scratch as its supply of imported essential manufactured goods dries up. Its consumer economy is propped up by three brittle points of failure — remittances from a vast army of overseas workers, businesses funded by foreign capital, and operations outsourced to it by the First World. All of these, in turn, are supplied by imported goods, provided management and technical expertise by foreign firms, and kept humming by imported capital equipment that require spare parts sourced overseas.
Unlike Italy today (and the allied and axis powers of World War II), the Philippines has no industrial capability nor tradition to turn into a war machine. Calls to undertake COVID-19 “mass testing” issued today by “woke” virtue signallers are ridiculous considering the very real cost and physical supply limits of testing kits. Even in the United States, for example, which is in a far better position to deal with crises than the Philippines, it was found necessary to take a tiered approach to testing and not be panicked into latching on to this quaint fantasy of “mass testing”.
Indeed, much of what sustains the Philippines’ enormous population is made possible almost entirely by imported medical technology. In a world of countries locking down borders and redirecting exports of essential medical equipment and devices to domestic use, impoverished countries like the Philippines are effectively on their own. While the ability to develop COVID-19 testing technology indigenously had been proven by the University of the Philippines National Institutes of Health (UP NIH), the capability to step up production of these at a scale and volume required to serve the Philippines’ vast population remains to be seen. For now, Filipinos continue to rely on PCR based lab kits at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) donated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Perhaps there is reason to believe that the Philippines will survive this crisis just as it survived past disasters almost all of which it was woefully unprepared to deal with. However, what makes the COVID-19 pandemic different is that it is also impacting countries the Philippines traditionally relies on to bail it out of trouble. This just means it is high time Filipinos rethink their habitual dependence on foreign powers to function as a modern society. More importantly, Filipinos need to learn to be accountable for their own well-being and for the important task of maintaining a state of preparedness to deal with what an increasingly complex world might throw at them next.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
22 Replies to “COVID-19 further highlights how important it is for the Philippines to be INDEPENDENT”
You invalidate your own position by citing Italy, China and USA which are in worse condition than the Philippines.
Also, you cant make policy based on black swan pandemic conditions. We shouldnt give up all our bpo jobs just so we can prove we can also make products that China can make cheaper because they only give lugaw (porridge) as salary and no one will complain because its a totalitarian state that is more like a ancient world monarchy now. What an idiotic article.
If you can allow your mind to unload itself of everything you possibly have learned throughout the years and pretend to know nothing, it will be easier for you to understand… and you will be enlightened to to know that it’s just all about this:
“This just means it is high time Filipinos rethink their habitual dependence on foreign powers to function as a modern society.”
It’s simple, really!
In what way is the Philippines uniquely dependent? (your answer has to apply to no other country) make an effort to answer now…
Goalpost mover. What a troll. Your requirement that it can’t apply to any other country is so inane and proves nothing.
Just proves that greengrin could not fathom an article written well by benign0.
What do we all expect from a troll whose username is “greengrin”?
Watching dog pooping is more educational than reading comments by greengrin.
Freakin benign0 wants the Philippines to CUT OFF ALL TIES with the rest of the world except CHINA.
benign0 envisons for us to go down the NORTH KOREA path of being “independent”. Save for our China masters. Whie off course he lives in comfort in AUSTRALIA
F this guy and the sheep who listen to him.
Guess again. Here is what I wrote back in 2011…
Check out the full article here! ?
Actually the world allowed China to be its manufacturer because its the only one who is ok with air pollution killing its people and citizens have no rights to object to the new emperor xi jinping.
of course its important dick, otherwise the title of the article should be “covid19 highlights the world is dependent on each other” true enough but a non sequitor and not clickbaity so it did not pass grp standards
We cannot suddenly replace colonial mentality from Spanish and American colonization with colonial mentality from another country, even if it’s also Asia. Have people learned nothing from the Japanese colonization? Educational sites on the Philippines such as Filipiknow mention so many written articles from studies of Filipino anthropology of so many Filipinos who have done great things, but are sadly forgotten.
Search the article, “Filipinos, Colonial Mentality, and Mental Health,” on Psychology Today, and see the related articles also. These are psychological studies of Filipinos who are OFWs living in other countries and Filipino Americans. Sadly, some Filipinos do not even live outside the Philippines, but they still have this mentality. It is also sad to hear that some foreigners seem to be more aware of this issue than some Filipinos themselves do.
We’re still the child who left home, but kept coming back to parents asking for money. And there are Filipinos who still want to be a state of the US. Too bad China got ahead of them. lol
How come UP was able to develop our own covid19 test? Are you accusing those scientists of making it up? What is your proof?
I’m not talking about that, but on that case anyway, the UP kits have not yet been mass produced. We are still acquiring testing kits from other countries, from of all places, China.
And on China again, when the SCS/WPS islands were being occupied, what was the previous administration doing? Asking for help from other countries. To the point of wanting the other country to go to war in China. That’s dependence… as well as inciting violence.
Sure we can come up with a test kit, but we’d still need the Chinese to manufacture it for us.
The COVID -19 will realign the economies of countries of the world. It seems that globalization, shall not be the trend. The trend of making China, and other third world countries, like ours, as sources of cheap labors shall surely be discontinued…the trend of OFWs may soon be faded out. So, we have to be ready, when those OFW remittances will dry out…we could become bankrupt !
Relying on your own manufacturing base , will come back. As first world countries, learn from this COVID-19 pandemic, their economic vulnerabilities. Anyway, Robotics manufacturing, and Artificial Intelligence manufacturing shall soon replace human manual manufacturing…
Let us just wait and see what will happen to this “new world order” …
It’s unrealistic to follow a standard that’s not attuned to the individual circumstances. Nobody can achieve independence that way. So maybe back to the drawing board.
And there’s also the “Never let a crisis go to waste” with the politicization of the pandemic, even here in the Philippines I’m seeing idiots who are saying that giving Duterte, Emergency Powers means he’ll be a dictator at the late age of 74 years old, that we should not give him that much executive power to oversee the pandemic. If it’s not political forces wanting us to align and depend on one superpower or the other, it’s opportunists like these who want to incite panic by impotently telling the President and DOH head to resign, DURING A GLOBAL CRISIS, I’m sure that will inspire confidence in our Government when immature idiocy and opportunism by the so-called opposition is prioritized than solving this crisis, I’m sure these idiots have the best interests of the Philippines at heart.
I remember the 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic hitting the World, the Philippines was lucky to get off scot-free with little to no major outbreaks in the country, while countries like the US had almost 12,000 in deaths, there’s no easy way for us to prepare for this kind of crisis, especially since Dengvaxia eroded trust in the DOH and I’m not convinced shoving more money towards bloated bureaucratic agencies will mean better services, still glad that we aren’t hit as hard as Italy or Iran, but this should be a wake-up call, but I doubt it, seeing the modern political state in the Philippines, those are who in the opposition deserve better leaders than those Yellows and Reds.
Lol. SO funny benign0.
How about independence from CHINA?! How about independence from DICTATORSHIP!?
You keep harping independence, yet you accept China money and are a dictator loving “blogger” who doesn’t even bother to fact check or cite the garbage he writes.
Another chi-chi article, written by benign0 to sow chaos during a crisis while he safely lives in AUSTRALIA.
God help us all.
Since when is the Philippines under a rule of CHINA, lols? If it so, then CHINA map should have included the Philippines and United Nations should have not recognized the Philippines as an independent state. Duh? Talk about making up stories and your own inane fairy tales.
DICTATORSHP? Where? List one? People can talk, talk, talk, tell lies, tell tall stories, make fake news, curse and make fun of the president who doesn’t care the F&*% what you say to him since he can troll more to all his detractors. And basically, he likes having people the freedom to say what he or she wants to say. As far as we know, the government is still DEMOCRACY and not DICTATORSHIP. Duh?
Also, since when is it DICTATORSHIP when he still “asks” for emergency powers to congress or other parts of the government, less his railroading of laws and the constitution will be questioned. If he is a DICTATOR he should have done it at once without any warning.
Fact check yourself, your brain and face. You can’t even be logical and reasonable even in stating suppose facts when all of these could be logically dismissed by simple reasoning and analysis.
Benign0 is funny (as you say) while you are not. May your God think twice in helping you (maybe pray to HIM to provide you with enough brain power to understand exactly what you are saying and throwing at other people before you speak/type for the world to criticize and dismantle every word you say.
Get real! You’re still living in denial and making up stories…
That raging jackass is so Sinophobic and paranoid that the last thing he wanted to happen is mass rioting and violence, occupying Binondo and looting any Chinese businesses, not the mention killing and raping any Chinese people and even Chinoys.
It happened in Indonesia. It can also happen here.
We’re gonna laugh our asses since he’s our residential comedian here.
You already forget that Duterte was against travel ban from china because he was more concerened with offending them than filipinos dying? Of course with the so called drug war we know how much he values filipino lives. Try to think for yourself instead of just taking cues from thought leadr former stripper mocha
You should take your own advice. Because Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog is no thought leader. She’s a vile and vicious psychopath. Same goes to the late Carlos Celdran whose last Tweet is directed against Duterte: “Good. Now please die. kthaksbye.” Days later, he died of cardiac arrest in Madrid.
Perhaps you’re gonna do the same.
I am honestly confused how many of these comment critics are somehow concluding that just because someone lives in Australia, suddenly they’re being paid China money. I don’t get it. What is even the connection between Australia and China? From my limited knowledge, I don’t even recall if Australia is even good allies with or even have much of an enemy with China. If anything, those two countries seem almost completely apathetic to each other.