Year published :June 2023

Pages :376 pp.

Size :15 x 23 cm.

Black & White photograph :47

Tables :27 tables, 34 figures

ISBN: 9786162151996

Who Cares?: COVID-19 Social Protection Response in Southeast Asia

by Rosalia Sciortino

Who Cares? This book presents research findings on the social protection response to the COVID-19 pandemic in six Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. It comprises a regional overview and country-specific chapters, each of which narrates the unfolding of the pandemic, focusing on the economic impacts on different demographics and the social welfare programs that addressed those impacts. The details of each program reveal structurally entrenched limitations and biases, including privileges for civil servants and formal sector employees; inadequate or non-existent allowances for informal workers and migrants, or those considered outside the labor market; and the greater susceptibility to economic detriment among women and marginalized groups. Ultimately, the work highlights the paradox that the most socially deprived are disproportionately affected by crises such as the pandemic, yet they are also the least socially protected. As the title asks, “Who Cares?” about redressing this injustice.

About the Editor 

Rosalia Sciortino holds professorships in social sciences and international development at Mahidol and Chulalongkorn Universities. She is the founder and executive director of SEA Junction, a Southeast Asia–focused arts and culture organization. She previously served as regional director for Southeast Asia at the International Development Research Centre and the Rockefeller Foundation and officer for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Contents and list of contributors by chapter

Who Cares? An Introduction
Rosalia Sciortino

Chapter 1: The Paradox of Social Protection in Southeast Asia: A Regional Overview of the Health and Socioeconomic Impacts of COVID-19 and Responses
Rosalia Sciortino

Chapter 2: Crisis and Inequality: Social Protection Gaps in Pandemic Singapore
Stephanie Chok and Isaac Neo

Chapter 3: Social Protection and Voices from Below during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Malaysia
Heong Hong Por

Chapter 4: “Left Behind” in Thailand’s Pursuit of Economic Recovery
Teeranong Sakulsri, Rapeepun Jommaroeng, and Rosalia Sciortino

Chapter 5: Economic Imperatives and Implementation Biases Inhibit the COVID-19 Response in Indonesia
Johanna Debora Imelda, Bagus Aryo and Rosalia Sciortino

Chapter 6: Aid, Work, and Resilience: Social Protection as Viewed by the Metropolitan Poor in the Philippines
Melissa Quetulio-Navarra, Jose Jowel Canuday and Jessica Sandra Claudio

Chapter 7: Social Vulnerability and Exclusion during the Fourth Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Vietnam
Nguyen Thi Thai Lan, Bui Thanh Minh, Dang Kim Khanh Ly, Fabio Saini, Mai Tuyet Hanh and Luong Bich Thuy

Bionotes of Contributors



The commentary by Ben Harkins on SEA Junction website read here

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