Webinar on “Building Back Better: Philippines’ Pandemic Recovery”

In the second webinar of the ISEAS Philippines Project, Professor Ronald U. Mendoza addresses how the Philippines can build a better post-pandemic ‘normal’ and enhance the policy reform agenda of the government.


Wednesday, 17 June 2020 – The ISEAS Philippines Project held a webinar entitled Building Back Better: Philippines’ Pandemic Recovery. Professor Ronald U. Mendoza, the Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, analysed how the Duterte administration, learning from the pandemic response successes of Taiwan and South Korea, could use the Philippines’ own pandemic recovery phase to reform the country’s public health care system.

Prof. Ronald U Mendoza addresses how the Philippines can build a better post-pandemic ‘normal’ as the country plan its shift to crisis recovery mode. The session was moderated by Dr Malcolm Cook, Coordinator of the ISEAS Philippines Project. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)

The Philippines is being badly affected by COVID-19, and the economic costs of its prolonged lockdown measures are mounting. Professor Mendoza presented a model of the inverse relationship between the effectiveness of the public health response to COVID-19 and the economic and social costs wrought by social lockdown measures. In the Building Back Better part of his presentation, Professor Mendoza highlighted Taiwan’s success and the need in the Philippines for a universal public health insurance system with low co-payment requirements.

A lively 30-minute question and answer session followed Professor Mendoza’s 30-minute presentation. In response to a question about the political costs of the pandemic for President Rodrigo Duterte, Professor Mendoza noted that, so far, there are few signs of a political backlash against the president despite the increasing economic and social costs of the pandemic control measures. Responding to a question about post-pandemic growth possibilities for cities outside of Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, Professor Mendoza argued that the archipelagic nature of the Philippines makes it naturally more resilient to pandemics and that future government economic development efforts should leverage this by focussing on development outside of Metro Manila and southern Luzon.

Over 90 people from the Philippines, Singapore and beyond watched and listened to the webinar. 

This webinar is supported by the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore.

Over 90 participants attended the webinar. (Credit: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute)