Crisis Updates from the Region

Crisis Updates from the Region2020-03-27T16:29:05-10:00

Philippines

Richard Siga-an (EC05-2) 

The COVID-19 pandemic is testing the resilience of the Philippines and her resolve to copeA common action is quarantine or community locked-down to prevent people from roaming around and spreading the virus. While lockdown is seen as closing the borders, it actually could be viewed as a unifying factor among political entities in inter-state or intrastate relationships.  

The armed services were tapped to either lead or support the implementation of lock-down. There is an InterAgency Task Force (IATF), headed by the President and the Secretary of Health and the armed services are part of it.      

At the moment, the Philippines immediate problem in the community lockdown is logistics and the President has delegated the power to source logistical requirements to local government units. The IATF is encouraging self-quarantine for those persons under investigation and monitoring of the possible COVID19 cases. By this strategy, the possibility of overloading the medical care facilities and their manpower resources may be averted. 

There appear to be some problems on the availability of testing kits. The medical practitioners here rely principally on a symptomatic diagnosis of COVID19 cases, that is looking for common symptoms such as dry cough, shortness of breath, among others. There is an emphasis on strengthening individual resilience through public information  

The public transport system was suspended, but the movement of health workers, medicines and food supplies and other basic commodities are exempt. Selected workforces are allowed to report to work provided social distancing is observed and they have valid identification cards coupled with allowable bodily temperature reading at checkpoints.   

So far, the Philippines case is manageable but there is a need to be vigilant.  

2020-03-31T15:35:54-10:00March 31st, 2020|0 Comments

East Asia Implications

By: Lt.Gen.(ret) Jun Nagashima  (TSC 15-1)

As the world is united and fighting against this coronavirus, I would like to provide my insights on East Asia from a long-term security perspective. Here, I would like to elaborate on three points.

One is that some of the weaknesses of biological weapons have been resolved, assuming that the virus will be more utilized as a weapon in the future. I think this incident might increase the accessibility, ease of use, and transportability of biological weapons, which raises our anxiety in the case where these could be used by extreme terrorists.

The second is the impact on the peace and stability in East Asia and primarily the political relationship between Taiwan and China. After Xi Jinping had delivered his speech aimed at Taiwan unification in January 2019, Taiwanese support rate for President Tsai Ing-wen, who aims for the independence of Taiwan, has been increased dramatically. Having seen the protest demonstrations in Hong Kong starting June 2019, her support rate rose to nearly 50%. In Taiwan, which is excluded from the WHO at this time and while criticism against China for the slow response to coronavirus became apparent, the Taiwanese government was highly evaluated for effective epidemic control measures, and the support rating for her rose to 68.5%. As Xi Jinping aims for Taiwan unification by the year 2049, which would be the 100th anniversary of its founding, I’m anxious about the possibility of heightened military tensions between Taiwan and China in the near future.

Third, China has taken full advantage of advanced technology equipment as a means of preventing the spread of this virus. These include big data, drones, face authentication system, surveillance network systems, robotics, and people’s credit granting system, which could be used to block infected areas and restrict the movement of citizens, track infected people and contact persons. China has adopted a civil-military fusion policy that blurs the line between civilian technology and military technology, so it is easily expected that the PLA will use these advanced technologies actively and equip its weapons with these earlier than planned. That’s my insight on this coronavirus incident from the viewpoint of security.

Lt.Gen.(ret) […]

2020-04-06T09:14:29-10:00March 27th, 2020|0 Comments

COVID-19 and Kurdistan Region of Iraq

By: Tayeb Hamid Mohammed Sherwani (CSRT 19-1)

The Kurdistan Regional Government implemented several processes and regulations to prevent the prevention and containment of the coronavirus at the start of the epidemic.

Concerning the lethal coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has taken many lives worldwide in a short period of time, it has captured global attention not only through requirement of treatment but also through containment and prevention to control the spread of the virus. The virus originated in China, which has the second most deaths worldwide while Italy being affected the most. Currently, it seems as if China has halted the further spread of the virus through good countermeasures and management which is a good example of crisis management and response. While one of worst response to the pandemic and bad management is Italy, with it being tragic to observe as it has the most deaths.

As a citizen of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, I consider myself lucky and happy that our government, regardless of being an autonomous region and not officially a country, has managed the pandemic very well. The people have obeyed the laws and regulations that the government has set out. The KRI up till now, the 26th March, has only had 103 infected with the virus and 2 deaths, which most are in stable condition. Considering the regions extensive border with Iran, which has had considerable infections comparatively, the majority of patients that have been infected have travelled back from Iran recently.

The Kurdistan Regional Government implemented several processes and regulations to prevent the prevention and containment of the coronavirus at the start of the epidemic. Some of which were:

  1. The quarantine of anyone, who was traveling back from outside of the region, that was suspected of having the virus for a length of 14 days.
  2. Cancellation of any event that had large numbers of people gathering in one location.
  3. The closure of schools, universities, and other educational institutions and the temporary shutdown of some government institutions. Government employees were encouraged to work from home through online platform which was established for necessary situations similar to the current pandemic.
  4. Finally, the government announced a 14 days […]
2020-04-06T09:16:35-10:00March 26th, 2020|0 Comments

Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on APCSS’ mission

Deon Canyon

Our motto is ‘Educate, Connect and Empower’ and our education model is face-to-face engagement where real trust, relationships and networks between security practitioners are initiated and developed. COVID-19 has forced our educational model to evolve since we are all required to maintain social distancing, many borders are closed, and our courses have been delayed. The hard question for us is, ‘What new educational and engagement models will enable us to maintain core business and continue our mission?’

One way is to further engage with our 13,000+ alumni, who already have built valuable relationships with APCSS and other alumni from throughout the globe. Our first effort along these lines is to create a forum in which faculty and alumni play a role in advising and updating each other on ways to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, and by providing briefs and status updates on agencies and locations where the alumni work and reside. Regular updates will go some way to creating a global picture of how the pandemic is affecting our governments and security sectors. Information on lessons leaned and challenges overcome will benefit government officials who are still struggling to manage various aspects of the crisis. Together, we can create an evolving body of knowledge that will help us manage this new complex crisis.

 

2020-03-31T12:51:48-10:00March 24th, 2020|0 Comments

National and Regional Security Implications of COVID-19 – Maldives

By: Abdulla Phairoosch (CCM 2011-1)

COVID-19, the disease caused by a “novel” strain of coronavirus family, is wreaking havoc across the globe. Consequently, many countries have elevated the COVID-19 pandemic from a public health issue to a national security issue. Will this alleviate the risk, is a question that has no definitive answer as of now, though many countries, like Japan and the Maldives, are battling the threat through the provisions of public health protection laws. Nevertheless, national borders have become more prominent in the discussion in mitigating the risk or ‘flattening the curve’. One of the first approaches to crisis management adopted by many countries was restricting inflow of foreigners or announcing travel bans.

Today, the world is more interconnected than ever before. Travel restrictions (and bans) has affected global economy and global connectivity as the supply chains are disrupted. Many industries rely on components or raw materials from a supplier in another country. Hence, travel restrictions and flow of goods across countries is disrupting many industries, including those that support critical infrastructure, medical supplies, and personal hygiene.

Over 80 percent of medicines and vaccines either originate from China and India or use components manufactured in either of these countries. On 3 March 2020, India – world’s biggest supplier of generic drugs – had decided to restrict the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients, including Paracetamol, one of the world’s most widely used pain-relieving drugs. This decision came at a time when many manufacturers in China reduced their output. With the increase of domestic need in treating their infected populations and a global disconnection of transport, most countries risk suffering from shortage of medicines and medical equipment.

Governments are forced to reduce their recurrent expenditure and divert resources and funds to the response and recovery effort, while subsidizing essential services. Hence, the whole exercise increases government spending, even if OECD has revised global rate down from 2.9 percent to 2.4 percent (slowest since global financial crisis).

Regional alliances could break due to the inability to support suffering members of the block, as seen in the European Union. Though the 27 regional countries come together is crises, they could not support Italy. […]

2020-04-06T09:30:12-10:00March 23rd, 2020|0 Comments

Cooperation and Collaboration Amidst the Crisis – Nepal

By: HK Shrestha

The Covid-19 pandemic has defied national boundaries and has vindicated our shared vulnerability to this new phenomenon. It has underscored the imperative need to redouble concerted efforts at every level – national, regional, and international level to defeat the disease. In my mind, multilateralism is key for unleashing synergetic actions to overcome the current crisis. The pandemic has amply brought home the necessity to revisit the narrative of regional and international security.

Equally critical is the imminent fallout in the aftermath of the pandemic, which the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has rightly termed as After Corona (AC) in terms of global economic and financial downturn. For a country like Nepal, with weak economic foundation, the consequence will be severe. Tourism industry, backbone of the economy, is hard hit. Remittance has been dwindled.

Irrespective of the hardships, we are resolute to fight the disease by rigorously following the standard health protocol and through close cooperation and collaboration with our immediate neighbors, regional groups, and international community. The recent initiative by the South Asian leaders to work closely in the fight against the disease is an example. The lessons and best practices of China and it’s readiness to help the affected countries is also equally welcome sign.

Acting collectively and resolutely, we will be able to save the precious lives of people and wipe out the scourge from the face of the world sooner than later.

With these optimistic note,

HK Shrestha, Kathmandu

2020-04-06T09:31:07-10:00March 22nd, 2020|0 Comments