Reimagining Governance: Reclaiming Solidarity and Subsidiarity in the Time of COVID-19
ASOG Working Paper 20-006
23 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 8, 2020
The COVID-19 crisis is the most complex and challenging peacetime crisis that the world has ever faced in recent history. Over the course of 5 months, the novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.1 million people in 188 countries and caused the death of almost 400,000 people around the world. The pandemic has forced governments worldwide to declare national lockdowns, shutting down schools and workplaces, disrupting travel, and forcing billions of people around the world to retreat into their homes. When the Philippines emerged from lockdown on June 1, 2020, 18,638 people had tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 960 people had died from the disease.
This pandemic is proving to be unlike anything that humanity has experienced before. The rapid spread of the virus coupled with its high reproduction rate and unusually long incubation period has caught governments off-guard as they scramble to adapt to the situation.
The pandemic is turning out to be a large-scale social experiment in governance and crisis management, as countries are forced to confront the limitations of their current systems. Two dominant governance models have emerged on how to address the crisis. The first is China’s authoritarian, command-and-control model which uses centralized monitoring, police surveillance, and harsh punishment. The second model is a more democratic model used by South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore which relies on extensive testing, honest reporting, and cooperation between government and the citizens.
In battling this pandemic, the Philippines is currently caught in a tug-of-war between the national government’s authoritarian approach to the crisis, and local governments and private citizens push for involvement and participation to fill the gaps of national governance. This paper will analyze the dynamics between national government, local governments, and the private sector, and offer recommendations on how local autonomy and citizens’ participation can help support innovation and strengthen governance towards addressing the myriad issues brought about by the pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19, philippines, intergovernmental relations
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