Public health programs and policies of a state have to be accepted by the majority of the people before these can be successful since some of these programs and policies may favor one over the other and infringe people’s rights and liberties just to promote public safety. In utilitarian societies, the state's primary concern is to ensure the most significant benefit to the majority, even if, in the process, some rights, liberties, and privileges of the minority will be jeopardized. In libertarian societies, the state's authority is limited to ensuring that the members of the population enjoy their natural rights to life, liberty, and property and to defend the citizens from external aggression. The liberal societies agree with the libertarians that the state’s main function is to protect individual freedoms but reject their thesis that the state’s legitimate power is restricted to protection of these rights and concur with the communitarians that the state should also protect the welfare of its citizens. While a liberal state supports the promotion of public goods and services, its primary concern is protecting individual welfare. It does not adequately consider the shared commitment of communities and cultures to safeguard and secure collective goods. This paper will argue that for a country with diverse cultures and values such as the Philippines, a healthy interplay of the ethical principles of stewardship and community, as well as compassionate paternalism, must be considered in the crafting and implementation of public health programs and policies to be able to address the different needs of individuals without jeopardizing the collective needs of the community, especially during and after a pandemic.
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