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Binay to DILG: Engage in pandemic info drive instead of Cha-cha signature push

/ 07:46 PM May 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) should redirect its federalism roadshow funds to engage in an aggressive information campaign in light of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to Senator Nancy Binay.

In a statement on Monday, Binay said government agencies tasked in pushing for federalism should rather prioritize public health interests instead of focusing on gathering signatures for Charter change (Cha-cha).

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“May krisis di ba? Bakit cha-cha ang inuuna? Matagal na po nating sinasabi na we are at a crucial point where communication is vital in confronting a state of a public health emergency. Mag-step-up naman sana ang PCOO at DILG in elevating the ante in risk communication,” she said.

(There’s a crisis right? Why is cha-cha being prioritized? We have repeatedly said that we are at a crucial point where communication is vital in confronting a state of a public health emergency. The DILG and the PCOO should step up in elevating the ante in risk communication.)

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“Sayang po yung milyun-milyong budget ng DILG at PCOO na ginagasta sa federalism roadshows na sana po ay sagot sa kumakalam na sikmura. Ang priority dapat ng gobyerno ngayon ay solusyon sa problema, di pirma sa cha-cha,” she added.

(The millions in the budget of the DILG and the PCOO that have been spent on federalism roadshows could have been used to feeding families that are going hungry. What the government should prioritize now is to solve the problem, and not signatures for cha-cha.)

Binay said the DILG and the PCOO have “big shoes to fill” when it comes to information dissemination with the imposition of different quarantine arrangements across the country.

“On the part of the PCOO, we expect a massive multi-platform information campaign for the public to know the ‘Dos and Donts’ as we transition from ECQ to the new normal,” she said.

“Dapat merong aggressive effort to put into infomercials and readable printed formats ang lahat ng kaliit-liitang detalye ng safety and health protocols para naman alam at handa ang publiko to live and embrace the new norm,” she added.

(There should be an aggressive effort to put into infomercials and readable printed formats every detail of the safety and health protocols so that the public is informed and ready to live and embrace the new norm.)

‘Uniform info campaign’

According to Binay, there should be a “uniform standard information campaign” that would map out a “clear” risk communication plan.

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“Dapat ipinapaabot sa tao na seryosohin ang safety protocols

(The public should be advised to take the safety protocols seriously),” she said.

“Dapat may hinahawakang booklet o manual na nakasulat ang mga dapat o di-dapat gawin,” she added.

(There should be a booklet or manual which shows the dos and don’ts.)

Further, Binay said the DILG has a “hefty” budget for its Balangayan CORE roadshows to drum up support for federalism. She said this budget could be used to strengthen contact tracing capacities of local government units.

“The current (COVID-19) situation is not slowing us down. By relaxing some restrictions, it’s accelerating the infections in many factors. Focusing on charter change in the midst of a pandemic is excessive, unnecessary, and insensitive,” she said.

Earlier, lawmakers thumbed down DILG’s move to continue gathering two million signatures over the next two months to back amendments to the Constitution.

This after the Inquirer reported that the DILG has transferred its physical signature campaign online to meet a July deadline amid the pandemic.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año branded the report as “fake news.”

But the Inquirer stood by its report, citing the DILG memorandums it obtained and authenticated through a phone call with DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.

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TAGS: Charter change, coronavirus disease, coronavirus Philippines, DILG, Nation, news, PCOO, Senator Nancy Binay
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