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Binay to PCOO: Prioritize COVID-19 info drive, don’t waste time on Europe roadshow

/ 03:11 PM March 08, 2020
Sen. Nancy Binay, chairperson of the Committee on Tourism, listens to officials from the airline industry as they reported a huge decrease in their flight sales due to the 2019 nCoV. “We have cancellations in our domestic flights. That is why we are meeting with tourism officials this afternoon so we can come up with a campaign for domestic tourism,” Paterno Mantaring Jr., Cebu Pacific Vice President for Corporate Affairs, told Binay during Tuesday’s public hearing, February 20, 2020. (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

Sen. Nancy Binay  (Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Get your priorities straight.

Senator Nancy Binay issued this reminder to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) amid the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

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“I hope PCOO gets its priorities straight. Yung isang oras na video documentary on drug war eh baka pwede rin gumawa ng kahit 2-minuter na infomercials in different dialects. It makes public health officials’ jobs harder kapag may mga taong na ‘di naman bihasa sa public health ang nagsasalita para sa DOH, and making it difficult for people to know who to trust,” Binay said in a statement on Sunday.

“Kailangan mag-step up ang ibang agencies at PCOO in elevating the ante in risk communication. Wag na muna nilang ubusin ang oras nila sa kung anong roadshow sa Europe dahil dapat Pilipinas muna ang bigyan natin ng focus para labanan ang paglaganap ng Covid-19,” she added.

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She stressed that “we are at a crucial point where communication is vital in confronting a state of public health emergency.”

This is why the Department of Health (DOH), Binay said, needs “all the help from legit government communication portals in providing factual, timely and honest information to a near-panicking public.”

On Saturday, the DOH raised code red, sublevel 1 with the confirmation of local transmission which involved a 59-year-old woman.

The woman is the sixth confirmed COVID-19 case in country and the wife of the 62-year-old who first tested positive for the virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III also recommended the declaration of a state of public health emergency to which the President had agreed to.

“In these times of confusion, panic is the enemy. Importante ang role ng risk communication ng gobyerno in order to manage much of the panic around the virus. Ang tanong ko sa PCOO, maliban sa pino-post sa ‘Laging Handa PH’ Facebook page, meron na ba silang ready and executable national and local risk communication plans for this kind of public health emergency we’re in?” Binay asked.

Binay suggested that Malacañang set up a high-level risk communication team composed of representatives from different agencies to ensure that information and data coming from government agencies, other than DOH, are vetted and verified.

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She said effective communication is critical during emergencies like the COVID-19 outbreak, as containment remains a major concern for everyone.

“This is no longer a medical issue but a horrifying social issue,” Binay said.

“Sana, kung gaano ka-intense at persuasive ang ginagawa nilang roadshow para sa Europe, sana ganoon din ka-aggressive ang kampanya nila sa mga probinsya kung paano maiwasan ang COVID-19 at kung ano ang dapat gawin sa pag-contain nito,” she added.

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

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TAGS: Binay, Communication, Coronavirus, COVID-19, PCOO
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