Increasing COVID-19 cases calls for ‘safer, better normal,’ BioChem prof says

‘SAFER NORMAL’ should be practiced through positive cooperation between the citizens and the government amid the increasing COVID-19 cases, UST Department of Biochemistry Leonardo Guevarra Jr. emphasized on Wednesday during a webinar.

Guevarra urged the government to develop policies promoting cautious and progressive actions while practicing the imposed health protocols, as resiliency is an inefficient factor in battling the pandemic.

He also advised the government to adapt to a ‘better normal’ by developing science-based policies and allocating more funding to science research and development. 

“The problem with our government is that it only allocates 0.16 percent of its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to research and development, while [other countries suggest] at least 1 percent of GDP to attain better science and technology programs,” Guevarra said.

Vaccines promote economic growth

An immediate vaccination program is needed to beat the pandemic’s adverse effects and alleviate socio-economic issues, said Guevarra.

“Vaccines work by mimicry… The endpoint of [vaccine] is you will produce antibodies that will lead to seroprotection [so that] the next time you have this pathogen [harmful virus cell such as the coronavirus], this antibody will react from the pathogen and prevent you from having the disease,” he explained.

AB Economics alumnus and Central Bank of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff Aries Gamboa also agreed with Guevarra by saying that the Philippine economy is poised to regain its further growth as long as the government has allocated 82.5 billion pesos for the 2021 vaccination program, targeting almost 70 million of the country’s population to be inoculated.

“I would say we are poised to recover as long as we can have the vaccine soon because all the programs are in place… basta safe na tayo lumabas. Nandiyan na yung mga programs [na magbibigay] ng trabaho sa’tin,” he said.

Gamboa cited the continuation of the “Build, Build, Build” program and the measures encouraging the banks to allow loans for micro, small and medium enterprises as a way to create jobs and income which is beneficial for the economy. 

As this happened, Gamboa mentioned that the 9.2 percent decline in GDP, which he referred to as a decline at a declining rate, was projected to reduce to 6.5 to 7.5 percent rate this year. 

The webinar is a second installment for the “Tindig Pinas: Diskusyon ukol sa Pagbangon ng Bansa mula sa Pandemya” spearheaded by the UST Artlets Economics Society and was co-presented by UST Artlets Student Council, UST Comach-Commerce, and UST Legal Management Society. F

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