Philippines’ inability to control COVID-19 no different to its failure to control traffic

This, according to economist Jeffrey Sachs on why the Philippines can’t seem to get its COVID-19 response act together while other countries can…

“If we were rational and well-governed, we would actually find a way through this without massive pain and suffering,” he noted. “The epidemic is itself controllable through rational policies.”

Thing is, the same can be said of the Philippines’ renowned out-of-control traffic situation. All that is really needed to get traffic flowing smoothly in the Philippines’ biggest cities are rational solutions like well-designed road lanes, consistently-enforced rules, a disciplined motorist community, and modern public transport (i.e. requires jeepneys to be JUNKED wholesale). These are simple solutions that had not been implemented at all since 1946 when the Philippines was granted independence by the United States.

Consider this simple problem of traffic management and you will find that the same applies to the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. Quite simply, world-class problem solving is not in the DNA of Filipinos. If Filipinos have failed to fix their traffic mess, then it is quite evident that their failure to get their COVID-19 response shit together is an affliction that goes deeper than any one government.


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A consistent inability to solve problems that call for obvious solutions is very likely cultural in nature.

It’s simple, really. There is something inherent about Filipinos that prevents them from applying modern thinking to their most pressing problems. Their thought leaders need to step back from their petty partisan ululations and consider real root causes.

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