When Anne Curtis-Smith asks “What’s the plan?” EVERYONE pays attention.

Filipinos have been on edge lately as the daily average number of confirmed COVID-19 infections has been breaching 10,000 the last several days. With hospitals bursting at the seams and lockdowns over the foreseeable future casting a grim pall over people’s lifestyles and livelihoods, people are looking for comfort and answers. Popular Australia-born starlet Anne Curtis-Smith offers something that many Filipinos now latch on to — a shoutout for a plan issued on Twitter.

This is quite alarming. Specially knowing that not everyone can/has gotten tested. So what is the plan? What are the next steps? I would like to think that everyone understands we have to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.. but..

In a subsequent tweet, Curtis-Smith adds, “it would be nice to be given more light on what is to happen while waiting for vaccines to arrive.. so with what hope we have left we can work together as a nation…”

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Nice, right? Obvious questions do come across more fashionably authoritative when uttered by celebrities. “Reporter” Dana Cruz of the Inquirer certainly agrees noting that, “more celebrities are voicing out their observations on what they see as the government’s lack of effective pandemic response, including Janine Gutierrez, Liza Soberano and Albie Casiño.” Presumably, Filipinos for their part are really grateful that such chi chi showbiz stars are right on the ball to tell them these things.

Unfortunately, the Philippines is saddled by an enormous population. It is a country that hosts a people numbering far beyond what any local public service can serve sufficiently even in normal times, much less in a national disaster like a pandemic. Not surprisingly, Metro Manila is the most acutely-impacted by the pandemic thanks to its distinction of having the world’s highest population density. With thousands of small one-room shacks peppering vast swathes of steaming slums all over this megalopolis being home to several families, it is virtually impossible to contain the spread of COVID-19. Each one of such households is a virtual petri-dish where viral clusters likely form almost daily. And under a system where public administration is hopelessly federated across small local government units, the economies of scale required to efficiently co-ordinate consistent implementation of modern disaster response and crisis management measures are simply not there.

In short, Metro Manila is like a vast forest dried to a crisp in a drought that had been set alight. The inherent inability of the Philippines to deal with a pandemic of this scale was evident even back in May last year, 2020, when I wrote in my article “The best solution to combat COVID-19 is to NOT be poor”…

The fact is, the Philippines is not in a position to effectively deal with the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable manner in much the same way it never actually ever had the capability to deal with any general disaster to begin with.

Brilliantly prescient writing right there. To be fair, however, the historical record provides ample evidence of how such a fragmented national governance frame consistently proves to be impotent in times of crisis. Back in 2013 as supertyphoon Haiyan devastated the city of Tacloban and killed more than 10,000 Filipinos in the span of just 2-3 days, then Interior Secretary Mar Roxas could only advise then city mayor Alfred Romualdez, “bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo” (“you people are on your own and your lives are in your own hands”) noting that the national government pretty much had its hands tied at the time navigating the legal minefield of intervening in local government crisis response activities.

In times like these, meagre resources need to be prioritised and even solutions that are mere compromises need to be implemented decisively. Metro Manila is clearly a massive biohazard to the rest of the country. Columnist Joel Ruiz Butuyan declared Metro Manila in his column today a fallen city that probably needs to lock in all of its residents lest they make like rats scampering off a sinking ship to infest hapless communities in the hinterlands…

There’s the increasing number of Metro Manila residents who are moving back to the provinces, and along with them, they’re bringing and spreading the virus. Provincial folk are wary of those who are arriving from Metro Manila, and their fears are not without basis. Categorized as “locally stranded individuals” (LSIs), Metro Manila residents are subjected to mandatory testing in the provinces, and many of them are turning out positive for the virus.

Worried that they would be quarantined in provincial facilities with decrepit accommodations, there are Metro Manila residents who try to secretly move back to their hometowns without reporting to municipal authorities.

Clearly, COVID-19 already has the National Capital Region (NCR) in its grip and there’s obviously the rest of the country to consider. Strong measures will likely need to be implemented to ensure Metro Manilans don’t pose a health hazard to Filipinos who don’t call Metro Manila home.

One wonders then if those “plans” that Manila’s chi chi “influencers” like Anne Curtis-Smith shrilly demand of the nation’s brains trust are to be framed within that context of the broader interests of the entire nation and not just that of Imperial Manila. We hear a lot of such “influencers” urging their followers to “self quarantine”. Perhaps there also needs to be a call for Metro Manila to be quarantined from the rest of the Philippines reminiscent of the movie Escape from New York.

So what’s the plan, people? Paki bilis bilisan niyong pagsagot — Anne Curtis-Smith is getting impatient! Hopefully plans that are forward-looking in nature given the current reality are acceptable to her royal highness.

23 Replies to “When Anne Curtis-Smith asks “What’s the plan?” EVERYONE pays attention.”

  1. Ha, at long last someone who SPEAKS your LANGUAGE Benign0!!!

    In fairness, I was considering the concept in a planned SF series set in a near-future Metro Manila.

    No, not NCR being walled up a la Escape from New York. More like Anne Curtis Smith as an elected Senator. Something as a background joke…

    1. It’s got all the ingredients indeed… a self contained dystopia a la Logan’s Run and/or Escape that rots from within plus a babe who saves the day with her tweets… ?

  2. People moving back to the provinces should be a good idea to depopulate this city… if only they were not bringing the virus with them. But anyway, hope that gets sorted out, and more people go to their provinces to leave the city less crowded.

  3. “Obvious questions do come across more fashionably authoritative when uttered by celebrities.”

    Strange but true. It’s April for the starlet Anne, It was January for Mr. Ronquillo.

    When a beauty asks the question, everyone take notice, but back in early January, an opinion writer of The Manila Times wrote an open letter to the beast and the brightest in health and supply chain to lend their expertise in the service of the country — via writing a comprehensive, science-based, data-driven vaccine acquisition and distribution plan but is universally ignored.


    1. Who’s Mr Ronquillo?

      If he had Sam Milby or Piolo Pascual’s looks maybe he could have got heard. Sad to say in these benighted isles, if you have really workable ideas but don’t have Instagram-worthy looks to effectively communicate them, your plan may as well fall on deaf ears.

    2. From the same Manila Times article… which benign0 the AUSTRALIAN clown and his GRP circle-jerks fail to mention

      “Despite the compliance of Filipinos to the lockdown edicts, which should have reined in the virus had the government did its part in the virus containment effort”

      Honestly, benign0 is just a snake-oil grifter….No different from the fake protesters you can buy for $50 an hour at UP….. the truly dumb ones are GRP defenders like Chin0F and Hayden “sex tape” toro toro and their kind…

  4. Once again benign0 the @ss clown tries to cover up the government failures. While providing NO DATA. All of this is useless garbage spewing forth of the mouth of an Australian who KNOWS NOTHING of the local conditions.

    “Meager resources” to fight the virus? Why out of $4 TRILLION budget only $268 billion was allocated to DOH? ERrrrrrRRRRrrr DUH!

    Why does DPWH have a $700 billion budget when all the roads are closed

    We have the money to fight the virus but it is going to useless shit.

    Education (including DepEd, SUCs, CHED, TESDA): P708.2 billion
    Department of Public Works and Highways: P694.8 billion
    Department of Health (including DOH, PhilHealth, COVID-19 vaccines): P287.5 billion
    Department of the Interior and Local Government: P247.5 billion
    Department of National Defense: P205.5 billion
    Department of Social Welfare and Development: P176.7 billion
    Department of Transportation: P87.4 billion
    Department of Agriculture: P68.6 billion
    The Judiciary: P44.1 billion
    Department of Labor and Employment: P36.6 billion



    1. Above is a demonstration of the typical failure of the Philippines’ garden-variety social “commentators”. The Philippines is really a massive systemic failure and, as such, its troubles transcend any one or even several national governments. When cricism is spun around a single personality, an entire ecosystem of important points are habitually missed.

      Nobody actually disputes that there is an abundance of money to “do good”. However, the existence of said money, like the abundance of any other resource in the Philippines — minerals, fertile land, educated people — does not necessarily guarantee equal distribution of prosperity and wellbeing for all. It’s the same “curse of natural wealth” that afflicts sub-Saharan Africa as I wrote some time back in this article

      Despite the Philippines being host to abundant natural resources, and now, an enormous supply of people, the society as a whole lacks a collective ability to apply this enormous number of people to the task of turning these resources into any sort of valuable economic output of consequence.

      Money and other resources by themselves do not solve problems. People do. So an abundance of money in a country where problems with obvious solutions persist says something about the quality of its people.

      1. Some would assume that if they throw money, say $500 quadrillion dollars, at anything, we would have enough for everybody. Looks like they don’t know how things work. Even if you have that money and intended it for vaccines and test kits, the capacity to manufacture those supplies is another thing. Let’s say you have the money and want 12 billion vaccines and 12 billion test kits to be available for everyone next month, can that be done? No. For sure manufacturing capacity is limited and factories all over could probably manufacture a few hundred million of supplies per month worldwide.

        The wokes seem to have the same idea about food, let’s feed everyone in the world, redistribute wealth to make that happen! But they ignore how food is made. They are not synthesized in laboratories to churn out billions of food backs a day. Food production is slow and limited, and thus, it is difficult to feed a large population with such.

      2. @Chino: Yes, Filipinos will only end up with yet another ongoing dependency on a foreign sourced (and $$-costing) import to sustain a “normal” standard of living.

        1. Throwing money at problems doesn’t work. This has been proven over and over and over and over all around the world.

          When you have incompetent and/or corrupt people involved the problem will not be solved. Solving covid in the current Manila is not possible at the moment for various reasons, I think Duterte understands that (the fact these these celebrities don’ understand that is sad, I sometimes wonder if they have ever leave Makati or some other such rich area….)

          The only thing I am frustrated with is the education use of money during the pandemic…. The education department could have bought laptops/computers/technology if they would have used that money this year and not paid for worthless modules and paid teachers their full salaries to not teach. Again why throwing money at problems doesn’t work…. A more competent education department would understand a weekly “module” (packet of paper) is not going to acomplish anything

      3. @benign0 the FOOL:

        “quality of its people” – So what you are saying is that brown skin pinoys, according to benign0 who provides NO DATA, are poor “quality”. Is it the DNA?

        LOL. Why are you SO RACIST against your own kind. Freakin Uncle Tom benign0.

        The problem is obviously poor government which started with the MARCOSES

        So f—kin sad. You live in AUSTRALIA with all the white people that you desparately want to become. But your dark skin and “pango” nose shows you will never blend in. So rather try to blend in with the white people, boot licking CHINA at the same time , you lash out against your own people.

        Youre a sad sad sad clown…

      4. The problem is obviously poor government which started with the MARCOSES

        Lol! Martial Law Crybaby spotted.

        Philippine “democracy” has been “restored” back in 1987 according to the Yellowtards Mr @Darth. And yet the Marcos Card still keeps being played by the Yellowtards whenever they run out of arguments.

        Just like you. You seem to lack any such argument. Faced with the truth all you do is cry “racist” when faced with the TRUTH about Filipinos. Keep trying though. ?

  5. The virus itself could be manageable. The particular circumstances make the contagion complicated.
    Can somebody “real talk” Anne Curtis and fellow celebrities so they can manage their expectations.
    If there are practical limitations on making vaccines, then there has to be options that are available- specially to a nation that can’t make its own vaccine. They can’t possibly point to the same problem every time a pandemic strikes.

  6. In addition, someone on Facebook said, “what’s the plan?” can be answered by the loads of people getting vaccinated. Elderly, then people with disabilities and comorbidities followed. So far Astra Zeneca and Sinovac are the only ones available. We may see greater choices later on.

  7. @ benign0
    Who can best answer what’s being asked in your last paragraph and why? And what real world answer do you expect that will satisfy you considering the conditions and limitations we have at present?

    1. To be honest, the answer to that question will involve the same amount of effort it would take to answer the question of how to solve Philippine poverty. At this point there are no quick fixes as a lot of what accounts for the particularly disastrous impact of the pandemic on the Philippines originates from poverty as well.

      Just as one can only watch as poverty wastes countless lives in the Philippines over the years that will have to go by before it could be alleviated for most, COVID-19 will infect and kill thousands more before any plan to manage it in a sustainable manner could be developed and implemented in the Philippines.

  8. There is only ONE PLAN:

    1. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior or Burn in Hell forever and ever.

    Pandemics? Pestilence? War?

    The Son of God is coming soon. Accept him to be saved or suffer his wrath. You have been warned because God loves you. He really does. Why would he sacrifice his only son to save you from his wrath?

    I will pray for you… at Starbucks.

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