The Solutions to the Problems in the Philippines – an Appeal for Help from People Like You

If I would become the political adviser of the Philippine president, I would propose to him solutions on how to resolve the problems and issues happening in this country. But if I would not become one, I will continue to become an adviser if not to the president then to the people.

Manila, Philippines

There are hundreds of problems the government of the Philippines is facing today and even in the past. Some of them can be considered solved while some are not. Some problems are recurring while others are permanent and therefore the solutions are only temporary. However, it is worth commending on how the current government is responding to the needs of time of the Filipino people.

The rise of the Philippine Stock Exchange index is a valid proof that several economic measures are taking effect. The legal measures are showing results in the sense that the fight against corruption is not a “ningas-kugon” platform. The call for peace in Mindanao is on-going despite of the threats against it. But people will not be contented for as long as they are not seeing themselves liberated from these plagues of time. Moreover, when people see countries that are better than theirs, they keep on asking questions. They benchmark what they can see, hear and feel from other countries against the Philippines.

On the Photo: Beach in Philippines - the Pearl of the Orient Seas

The goal of this article is to present the problems our country is facing at present and recommend solutions that can help solve them. One way or the other, these problems are not new to our government and even to us, the people. The solutions presented here could have been done before but did not work for some reasons. But on why they did not work, it could also be our question today.

The explanations on this article could be another way to make those solutions work because they are identified and presented based on a body of knowledge called “Project Management” where problems are treated as projects. Before we proceed laying down the problems and solutions, take first into consideration the below steps. This may or may not change your perception towards solving our country’s problems. But this could be the opportunity for people like you who are seeking for changes on everything bad in this country.

· Identify and Authorize the Problem

· Formulate and Plan Solutions
o Collect the Requirements
o Create Work Breakdown Structure
o Schedule the Activities
o Allocate Budget and Resources

· Implement the Solutions

· Monitor that the Solutions are Implemented as Planned
o Manage the Risks

· Aim to Close the Problem

The decision of using the project management approach is up to you. Let me present to you now the problems and solutions.

Problem 1: Disobedience of Basic Laws

Laws in the streets, public places, government offices, communities, and natural resources are being violated. People’s awareness about the laws created and implemented is low. “No Loading/Unloading”, “No Loitering”, “No Solicitation”, “No Parking”, and “No Cutting of Trees” are just some of the most violated basic laws. The word “NO” is not understood well by many.

Solution 1: Informal Education
Basic laws require basic information drive in order to be understood. Speak and write in the language people will understand because it is the easiest way to communicate to people what you want. Informal education can be done right in the places where laws are being implemented. Guidance of authorities is one way of educating people to obey the laws and that is an informal way. Big sign boards in “Filipino” language will have a big impact. Authorities visible on the streets 24/7 who will speak to the violators in the language they understand can establish cooperation and discipline in obeying basic and even complex laws.

Problem 2: Graft and Corruption
Billions of pesos supposedly allocated for the government spending on projects and programs for the society are being pocketed by greedy government officials. What’s alarming is that this is already a mental habit, a part of the culture. The current government’s way of solving these problems is a good start. But I think they now need help for these attempts on solving graft and corruption practices to be fast, fair and effective.

Solution 2: Independent Foreign Auditing Bodies
Philippines need an unbiased, independent, just, intelligent and tenacious partner in solving this brutal crime. (For more information about corruption in the Philippines, see my blog post Corruption Kills Filipino People - Let's End Corruption in the Beautiful Country Philippines). This problem should be solved under a program where no politicians are involved mainly because they are the suspect or the accused. If the authority already identifies the solutions to graft and corruption, the same authority should implement it. The suspect’s duty is to comply and if not, he or she shall face removal in office if not imprisonment. Who are these foreign bodies? The United Nations, agencies promoting anti-corruption and transparency measures, and agencies from least corrupt countries like Denmark are the exact authorities who can solve this problem. The politicians in the Philippines need mentoring, coaching, and disciplinary actions from people who knows how to solve graft and corruption better.

Problem 3: High Unemployment Rate
About 30 to 35 percent of the Philippines labour forces are jobless citizens. They’re looking for jobs but its either they’re not qualified or there is no job open for them. There is another side of this problem. Many businesses are not willing to pay the right salary or wages thereby people are already losing their interest right even on the very first step of applying for the job. This just means that there is lack of job opportunities for the people.

Solution 3: Creating More Businesses
More businesses means more jobs. This is the fundamental of economics. How to create more businesses? One, teach people the right way of doing a business. Second, help people start their business by making the business registration process simple and easy. If businesses are thriving, there will be more job opportunities. That will trigger many other projects from private companies and the government to come out which means higher employment.

Problem 4: Hunger and Poverty
Hunger happens when there is not enough supply of food. Or if the supply of food is too expensive or not affordable, people decide to skip meals. Poverty is lack of resources – money, food, shelter, healthcare, and other basic needs. Hunger and poverty are obvious in Metro Manila and other major cities in the Philippines. But the truth is that poverty is everywhere, even in the mountains and forests.

On the Photo: An Agricultural Land in Baguio City, the Philippines

Solution 4: Agriculture
There is no other solution to hunger but continuous food supply. Poverty occurs because people have no direct access to resources. These resources are not all in the city or in the environment where people’s lives. The solution to both hunger and poverty is agriculture – a very wide area of scientific living. Planting crops, trees, and edible plants can sustain continuous food supply. Aquaculture, agri-business, large-scale farming, and modern technological process for food and shelter production are among of the best methods to multiply the resources. The government should focus on these areas for they could end hunger and poverty. The people should be convinced positively that engaging in agriculture is a must thing to do.

Problem 5: Devastation from Typhoons
About 20 typhoons visit Philippines each year. During these visits, loss of lives, damage to properties, and long-term negative effects to the affected people are happening. The problem here is not the typhoon. You cannot control nature’s fury but you can either defend yourself or run away from it. The problem here is the lack of knowledge and strategy on how to defend or run away.

Solution 5: Safety and Affordable Engineering Methods
The Noah’s ark is made of wood and it saves hundreds of lives. In this bible story, there is a notice to Noah so he has time to prepare. In our present time and even before, there are also notices. Technology wise, we have the PAGASA. Psychology wise, we know that typhoons attack every year from July to December. Days before the typhoon strikes, we already feel its coming. Filipinos should build their Noah’s ark version and this solution can be taken literally. A ship or a boat that floats, strong against winds and flying debris and can be anchored to a safer place is a literal solution. There are cheaper but safer engineering solutions that Filipinos especially on the most visited places can use. A bunker or underground tunnel in their homes or on a central place in their community can also be the solution. Running away before the typhoon strikes is indeed the best option if you care for your life. Strong-built infrastructures that can withstand strong typhoons are another alternative to look into. The government is wise enough to bring these solutions into place.

On the Photo: Jaywalkers - the Philippines' Street Way of Life

Problem 6: Insurgency
To date, hundreds of thousands Filipinos could have died because of the endless wars, conflicts that results to ambush, and false beliefs that triggers revolts and then chaos. Abu Sayaff, New People’s Army and Moro-Islamic Liberation Front are the militant groups fighting the government many decades ago and they are not yet tired to fire bullets and launch cannon strikes today. There is a reason on why they keep on doing this and the government knows that for sure.

Solution 6: Military-Militants Cooperation Programs
Give them what they want and what the government wants they should give also. Peace talks are great efforts on both parties. But is there still something wrong that peace talks cannot resolve wars and conflicts? The answer on that is definitely yes, there is. On the other side, all-out-wars have been launched many times in the past. However, it is also not working as expected. The bandits are back again. The solution to crisis like this is listening and answering to the bandits’ problem. If it has to be done close door, the concerned authorities should do it and it should be their aim as well to close the gap. In other words, the military and the militants should begin talking to each other now. If you’re a peace-loving people, you can understand and execute this solution.

Problem 7: Crimes
Crimes are reported almost everyday on newspapers and television channels. From small thefts up to bank robberies and then murder, the fear among people never ends. In fact, the society is almost becoming immune to chaos happening around. We need to work everyday and go home at night, most of us. Can we prevent crimes? Can there be no crimes? Yes.

Solution 7: 24/7 Police Visibility Programs
The short-term solution to crimes is 24/7 police visibility on public places. Public places are not only the streets but also the dark and narrow areas going home. Public places have boundaries which police authority should be aware of. Police’s function is not only to chase criminals when they attack. Patrolling, spying, and showing up are part of their jobs. Turn on the flashing red and blue lights, display the car painted by the word “police”, and use the CCTV and communication radios to exchange reports and updates. Philippine National Police could have been already doing these but might be not that fully. They need to be visible 24/7. The long-term solution is to educate our police about the right and advance methods in preventing crimes.

Problem 8: Poor Access to Affordable Healthcare
Not all can buy medicines in Mercury Drug and even Generics Pharmacy. Not all hospitals can accommodate patients, especially those private ones. This is the truth. The PhilHealth card could have been the solution to this common problem of the lower class. But is it? It is not because the requirements in order to become a PhilHealth member become another problem to many. How about the health centers in towns and cities, can they become the permanent solution to diabetic and stroke prone Filipinos? Yes.

Solution 8: Health Care and Medicine Centers (Public-Private) Partnership Programs
Only the system of providing medical services and medicine is kind of weak in rural and city health centers. Their presence is in fact a part of the main solution. The check up there is for free. The basic medicines are also for free. But why people are not going there but instead they go to the hospitals where expensive medical treatment and medicines are awaiting them. They want cure rather than prevention. They want to pay more than less. The government campaigns against diseases should be renowned. Medical services and medicines should be made more affordable. The information to the people that there are health centers open to accommodate them shall be disseminated. Health centers in return must be fully prepared to attend to the people. This can happen if private hospitals can be convinced to do their part at least on assisting public hospitals and health centers in terms of preparedness. Affordable medicines can happen if the PhilHealth card will cover it.

Problem 9: Over-population Resulting to Overcrowding in Cities
The Catholic Church has its claim that the increasing population is not a hindrance in uplifting the quality of life in the Philippines. There is valid point on that claim. The Reproductive Health Bill is the solution of the government. There is also nothing wrong about that in the sense that it is not to be implemented by force. Then what is the problem? The problem is the conflicting parties. If you isolate that side of conflict, increasing population should really be not an issue for a country that can feed its people. Population increase is a natural by-product of science and can also be controlled, if desired, by natural means.

Solution 9: Urbanization Programs
After education, urbanization programs can end overcrowding in major cities in the country. People flocks in areas where they know there are foods, jobs and fun waiting for them. The city is within that definition of modern living. But in the Philippines that definition is overly interpreted. There are many poor people in Metro Manila. One concrete solution is to divert other flocks of people into other cities. Create or develop more cities and people will automatically go there. The birth rate may continue to increase year after year but a city that is well-prepared to accommodate people can balance the situation. When people are busy working in the city and urbanized towns, population issues will naturally go away.

Problem 10: Degraded International Reputation
A once tiger economy in Asia is today again a Pearl of the Orient Seas that was taken out from its shells. Philippines is unprotected and ravished by polluted minds. The current government is currently finding the missing shells which is believed to be just lying somewhere in a coastal area in the east. But many countries know about that problem and their interpretation about that is far different from what most Filipinos are thinking. Corrupt government officials, lazy people, ignorant workers, smiley faces despite of tragedies and criminals are what other nationalities are thinking about us. To blame or confront them will not do any good result. We need to find our missing shells.

Solution 10: Improvement of Economic Development Programs
Every country has its own problem about reputation. Nuclear weapon maker, cyber hacker and spy, and communist can be linked to the rich and famous countries on this planet. But that bad reputation is not purely against culture and mentality. Filipinos have to understand and accept the reality that our reputation of having conflicting ideas instead of a common ideology is what many countries are concerned about.

We are a country of talented people but look; most of us are overseas Filipino workers (for more information about OFW, see my blog post Who are These OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and Why are They the Modern Heroes of the Philippines) who left our country. We do not like to work in our country because of its alarming situation. Now the solution is to improve our economy more. Economic programs that will create businesses, jobs, and investment opportunities for the Filipinos are the concrete solutions. Everything can start from a good economy and then it can result to having smart Filipinos that are highly respected and treated fairly in the international level. Now, we are not on that situation. Let’s all work together in improving our economy by helping each other and leave behind our crab mentality and false religious and ancestral beliefs. Let’s all find our missing shells because once found, it will once again make the pearl shiny.

On the Photo: Makati City - City of Businesses and Smart Filipinos

Project Management - the Read Deal
Project management is SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Above problems and solutions should be look into using SMART approach. They are not all easy to do; we all know that. But come to think of it. If you would only do your part by committing to make the solutions happen on any of those problems, we can close the projects anytime soon. There is a need for SMART people like you in this country.

You can be the closest person to execute one of the solutions because it is your passion; it’s a part of your job, of what you’re doing everyday. You are an engineer, an accountant, a UN official, a businessman, or an experienced management consultant. This is the main goal of this article, to convince people like you to help our government and our country as a whole.

About this Post
What is your opinion about these presented problems and solutions? Please leave a comment or please contact the author, Noriel Panganiban, if you have questions or concerns. This blog post aims to help the country in regaining its lost beauty. Thank you for reading this blog.


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