PNP on plan to use gossipmongers in contact tracing: ‘They’ll only ask questions’
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Saturday clarified that gossipmongers will only ask questions in tracing down contacts of those infected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“Ito activity na ito ay basic lamang na pagtatanong sa barangay,” PNP spokesperson Brid. Gen. Bernard Banac said during the Laging Handa online press briefing.
(This is only a basic activity where they will ask questions.)
“At alam niyo naman ang pangyayari sa barangay ay alam ‘yan ng mga nakatira lalo na ng mga umpuk-umpukan na nakatira sa kanto, o kaya dyan sa barberya, o sa palengke, ‘yung nagtitinda ng taho, o kaya naman sorbetes, eh malalaman mo kung sino ang positibo o may sakit ng COVID-19,” he added.
(And you know, they know what’s happening around the barangay. Those who gather who live nearby, or even at the barbershops, or even those in the wet markets, those who sell ‘taho’ or ice cream, they will know who tested positive or is sick with COVID-19.)
The director of the PNP-Region 7 Brig. Ge. Albert Ignatius Ferro first made the proposition, saying that gossip mongers usually know about the latest news about other people.
“This may be a way to help gather information useful for the government to beat the disease,” he explained.
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas later slammed the proposal, as she said it “trivializes” the current COVID-19 situation.
Banac added that the information that gossipmongers gather will then be passed to contact tracers, who will then verify if a person has been infected with COVID-19.
“Kaagad naman ito ipapasa sa contact tracers, sa pangunguna ng ating mga health worker, upang kumpirmahin kung talagang validated ‘yung mga ganitong tsismis,” he said.
(This will then be passed to contact tracers, who will be led by health workers, to verify if such rumor is true.)
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