LIFE is precious that the world is not stopping even for a second to find the cure of the coronavirus. In the Philippines, the scenario may not be as aggressive as in other countries for lack of visionary and results-oriented leaders but there are also certain exceptions. My colleague in the policy sector and a long-time friend, Senator Sonny Angara is always thinking ahead and moving. After having recovered from Covid-19 and donating his blood or plasma to cure other positive patients, he was inspired to conceptualize a way for plasma donations to be more systematic.
As part of his Tatak Pinoy Team and a mentor to many countryside startup founders, I saw it as an opportunity for one of our local tech-firms to do
community service by helping build a web-based application for plasma donations.
As Senator Sonny puts it, “It is time for Covid-19 survivors to pay it forward!”
In his own Facebook account, Senator Sonny posted: “My office, with help from Bacolod-based web developer Talking Myna, developed #PlasmaNgPagasa, a one-stop-shop website where Covid-19 survivors can privately register with collecting hospitals their intent to donate convalescent plasma. So far, we have partnered with the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Lung Center of the Philippines, and St. Luke's Medical Center (BGC and QC), and are looking to expand the network to more collecting hospitals.”
“Some studies suggest that convalescent plasma from Covid-19 survivors can help those who are critically ill to recover faster from the disease. While more research is needed, a University of Texas at Austin peer-reviewed study has found that the experimental treatment is completely safe. Sa madaling salita, mas may pag-asa, ‘pag may plasma. To my fellow survivors, register today at www.plasmangpagasa.com.”
Ross Melvi Monserate, the founder of Talking Myna, immediately responded to my call several months ago for a volunteer web developer. I am truly proud and grateful for the crop of startup founders I guide. They have become the new breed of community leaders I would wish to see being actively tapped by key leaders. I met Ross about two years ago when he reached out to request for an appointment. Startup founders would usually want to sit down and listen to my ideas as I also try to help refine theirs. I found this activity both enriching in terms of new knowledge and rewarding because I can help someone whose idea may be very important to the community or the country someday. Today, I am proudly helping young founders sharpen their minds to create useful systems. As shared a few columns back, I am also privileged to provide insights to the team of Philip Porras and Edwin Salinas of booqbcd.com, a web-based telemedicine solution based in Bacolod and Negros Occidental. I sincerely thank all the more than thirty volunteer doctors serving the platform.
As the barter communities spread across the country, I am also in constant communication with young people who started their barter communities in their respective provinces and cities. Listening to their exchanges in the Global Barter Communities on Facebook constantly inspires and makes me feel optimistic about the future this country will have.
This July, I will launch my initial lecture on the design thinking approach starting with the public sector under the Philippine Society for Public Administration (PSPA). This is another opportunity to share insights with government service practitioners in developing an innovation mindset. The government today must become as agile and relevant in their solutions as the private sector because of the demands of the so-called new normal.
Finally, going back to Senator Sonny, our Tatak Pinoy team is currently championing two important bills in the Senate – the Digital Transformation Bill and the Digital Careers Bill. Both bills fully recognize the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on employment and nature of jobs and the importance of developing a knowledge-based economy that requires a national workforce or talent supply equipped with 21st-century skills. The bills highlight the need for skill sets and competencies that are aligned with information and communication technology (ICT) and other disruptive technologies that shape the global markets across all industries. I will write more about these policy pieces soon.