Press Releases

Salceda statement on Global Finance Magazine safety index

July 9th, 2021

I would not take a magazine with just under 8,000 followers on Facebook too seriously, and allow it to take the kind of attention it has received from the national press. For a start, the magazine ranks places like Yemen, where a literal humanitarian crisis is happening, better than the Philippines.

Sierra Leone, another hotspot for humanitarian strife, and Greece are supposed to be on almost the same level of safety, if you believe the magazine. And they are supposed to be safer than Belgium. Venezuela, where a political crisis bordering on civil war is taking place, is supposed to be safer than the Philippines.

If none of that makes sense to you, we should not give it the kind of airtime that it has been allowed to take. The methodology was not even explained well enough to allow us to learn any meaningful lessons from the survey.

One of our less useful tendencies is we sometimes give oxygen to the wildest claims by even the smallest foreign outfits. We tend to seek the approval of foreigners.

Nonetheless, there are things we can learn from international comparatives. What measures against COVID-19 have worked in other similarly situated countries? What measures have been proven to fail? For this, I would talk to our multilateral partners, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. I would talk to our counterparts in other countries’ legislatures and in their governments. I would talk to the reputable academia and research institutes of these countries. I would talk to their private sector.

My point is, there are discourses on international comparatives that are useful and productive. My committee, the Committee on Ways and Means, compares our tax system with that of other countries all the time. Taking this survey seriously is not a productive exercise.

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