This fellowship has brought me into a unique position to know more about the situation of my country despite not being in the Philippines as well as get updated with the current developments in the East Asia and the Pacific. To a large extent, I am immersed in a new world. Macroeconomics, geopolitics, and international markets are not some concepts I regularly deal with in my past life. Although I understand these important matters and how they significantly impact the lives of ordinary people, I had been at the far end of the spectrum working directly at the grassroots with the people who are most vulnerable and helpless when bad leaders, misguided policies and destabilized markets arise.

I hate politics. Or shall I say, I hate politicians. I avoided it as much as I can. It’s a toxic world out there. I want my responsibility to end at the ballot box if only this is possible although I know this is not how it works if one desires to effect change as well. And so I am thrown into the world of geopolitics and economics. After all, as what Albright Stonebridge Group chair and former State Department secretary Madeleine Albright reminded us, political development and economic development go hand in hand. One cannot pursue the other and leave the other behind. This rings true. Political stability and economic growth are deeply interconnected. They are both primary drivers of development.

As the Philippines prepare for the 2019 midterm elections, I have to upgrade myself and deep dive into the tumultuous Philippine politics to competently carry out my role in my host organization. Pundits offered a positive outlook for the Philippines in 2019. The country will be politically stable and the economic growth will remain strong. The only news I need to hear.