No big deal for PH to publish global COVID-19 data – PCOO exec
MANILA, Philippines —It is perfectly okay to present global data on COVID-19 to suggest that the Philippines is “faring better” than most other countries as it is “simply amplifying facts,” said a Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) official Wednesday.
PCOO’s News and Information Bureau chief Virginia Agtay said this after the agency drew flak online over a leaked document directing government media to include COVID-19 world data in reports “specifically to convey to the public that the Philippines is faring better than many other countries in addressing the pandemic.”
In a statement, Agtay noted President Rodrigo Duterte is aware of how “government communications help achieve good governance, keep the public informed, and create a dialogue between the people and the government.”
“Well aware of these roles, especially with the COVID-19 situation, the President has given the instruction in order to provide adequate information and convey working policies, particularly those that aim to address the effects of the pandemic in the country,” Agtay said.
“There is nothing wrong with this, nor is it a lie, it is simply amplifying facts,” she added.
Agtay said some of these “facts” include the Philippines’ “reputable and efficient response to the virus as compared to some developed, more advanced, and less densely-populated countries.”
She cited the OCTA Research Group’s finding that the country’s COVID-19 reproduction number went down to 0.85 and Bloomberg’s data showing the Philippines is the 4th Southeast Asian country for vaccine rollout, among others.
Agtay said these global data on the pandemic “give Filipinos a better and wider perspective of the real COVID-19 situation in our country.”
“These in themselves are fulfilling and rewarding, and are things that the people should know, that we are indeed faring better than other countries in responding to this global health crisis,” she said.
The PCOO official went on to emphasize that these are results of the government and frontliner response to the pandemic.
“The President’s directive is to convey these positive messages to the people and this favorable news as part of our good governance outcomes. Rather than to proliferate fear, uncertainty, misinformation, and fake news, we want people to put their trust and to work with the government in fighting COVID-19,” Agtay said.
She noted that the PCOO uses other communications campaigns on vaccination, quarantine measures, and other COVID-19-related interventions.
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