As we move towards the digital age, data will be the new “oil” which fuels better planning and informed decisions. Data plays an important role, especially in local governments. It allows local chief executives and managers to design better solutions, gain insights in delivering and enhancing services, formulate policies, and improve accountability and understanding of local operations.
In light of the COVID pandemic, the global lockdown has greatly affected cities around the world. Some cities have become epicenters of the pandemic, which intensified the spread and transmission of the virus with their dense population and transport networks. Hence, in line with this, cities play a critical role when it comes to its containment and response.
Both private and public schools urged the local government units (LGUs) to provide them with connectivity and internet access to boost the online learning requirements of their students as the education sector prepares for the new normal when school resumes next month.
The request highlighted the opening session of the Liveable Cities Labs: Webinar Series on the topic, "Online Education Under COVID" that was organized by the Liveable Cities Challenge (LCC), the League of Cities of the Philippines and Globe Business.
In mid-March, the country was put into an Enhanced Community quarantine (ECQ). Over time, different parts of the country were declared under Modified Community Quarantine (MECQ) or General Community Quarantine (GCQ). By June 1st, most of the country shifted to GCQ. The shift to GCQ, however, doesn’t mean that the danger of infection has passed. We still need to remain vigilant.
As Metro Manila goes into General Community Quarantine starting June 1, the key question will be “will there be enough transportation or mobility options”? As people return to work, will there be enough public transport?
Granted while not everybody will be returning to work – only certain industries and essential services will be allowed to re-start – the answer will nonetheless be No.
If there’s one thing that COVID-19 taught us, it’s that we are going to have to move to a much more digitally-enabled world in the future. Over these last two months of Enhanced Community Quarantine (a.k.a. Lockdown), many of us have had to use more technology and digital services than ever before. From work meetings to communicating with family, ordering supplies, reading news, social media, and entertainment, digital use is up. This may have covered only a fraction of the population but it’s a trend which is bound to rise.
We have been on Enhanced Community Quarantine for over a month and it’s been extended for another two weeks until April 30 (realistically, May 4). Up to now, much of the discussion has revolved around if and when this lockdown should be lifted. But I think the operative word is how. Such a plan should be spelled out now and not announced at the last-minute. Otherwise, chaos will ensue or the number of new cases will spike, or both.