Daily Tribune : Bongbong urges focus on post-pandemic world

8 August 2021

By Alvin Murcia | Daily Tribune

A born optimist or someone who looks far down the road, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may well be that.

Marcos urged the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to already focus on post-pandemic recovery efforts even as the government tries to fast-track its Covid-19 vaccination program.

A potential candidate for higher office in the 2022 national elections, the son of the late strongman and namesake Ferdinand Marcos talked with members of the National Press Club via Zoom over the weekend.

With Metro Manila, the nation’s financial and economic center going on hard lockdown from 6 to 20 August, Marcos said the government must act to lessen the negative economic impact of the pandemic, including job losses.

Marcos asked government technocrats to take a look at shifts and emerging trends in the global economy so that Filipino graduates and workers can take advantage of countries trying to rebuild in a post-pandemic world.

He noted that the country produces 1.2 million college graduates each year, many of whom join the ranks of the unemployed.

He said that the demand for local jobs is exacerbated by the about 600,000 overseas Filipino workers coming home after being displaced from their jobs by the virus.

“Because they have no jobs, we have to find employment for them, particularly the government, to get the economy going since the money should reach the hands of the people,” said Marcos, who urged more fund utilization for job-creating projects.

He said economists should rethink traditional business concepts and models because the “terrain of business” has changed due to the pandemic.

“The buzzword now is to digitize a large part of the economy. Because many of those who have experienced work from home (WFH) may not go back to their (pre-pandemic) daily routine of going to work daily in their respective offices,” Marcos said.

He predicted that WFH and other pandemic trends like brisk online trade will continue even after the reduction of Covid-19 as a health concern through countries achieving herd immunity through massive vaccination programs.

“Why, because those who have experienced work from home will say, such a working arrangement is possible (so why go the office),” he said.

Marcos said there’s no room for underspending because the government must prop the economy by creating jobs that will allow workers to feed their families, send their children to school and help the economy through their purchase of goods and services.

He cited the basic economic concept that for industries to manufacture products, there must be a demand for them coming from consumers empowered to buy because they have jobs.