PCOO to work 24/7 to multiply COVID-19 info

Published March 9, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Genalyn Kabiling

The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) has vowed to continue to work 24/7 and “multiply” efforts to deliver timely, accurate, and reliable information on combating the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar made the commitment of round-the-clock work after Senator Nancy Binay took a swipe at the department when she said that the PCOO should focus on the anti-coronavirus information campaign than embark on foreign travels.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We will continue to be the lead communications arm of the government which has been at the forefront in delivering timely, accurate, and reliable information about the COVID-2019,” Andanar said during a Palace press briefing Monday.

Andanar recognized that much work needs to be done to further enhance the public information drive especially after health authorities raised the alert level on the coronavirus.

“We do not work in a vacuum. Challenges continue to mount. While we have exerted a lot of man-hours and resources in information production and dissemination, much more needs to be done in reaching out to the rest of our people, especially now that we are in Code Red,” he said.

“Rest assured that we will give a strong and united message, in coordination with IATF (inter-agency task force) members, and ensure to double if not multiply our interventions for the needed information of the public,” he added.

He said even before the country’s first local COVID case, the PCOO in coordination with concerned agencies have been “working round the clock 24/7 in providing regular updates disseminated across all media, such as television, radio, print, digital and on-ground, with Laging Handa as our dedicated platform for COVID-2019.”

Andanar said he respects Binay’s pronouncement and intends to submit a report on the department’s efforts to spread information in combating the disease.

“With regard to the comment of Senator Binay, that’s the vibrancy of democracy but we assure the good senator that the PCOO is coordinating with the IATF (inter-agency task force) members since day one and we will forward a departmental report to the office of the senator,” he said.

Binay earlier called on the PCOO to get its priorities straight by stepping up the information drive on dealing with the latest public health emergency. She said the PCOO should not waste time on its road shows in Europe, citing the need to give focus on the country’s current needs.

Andanar earlier led a PCOO team in traveling to several countries in Europe to defend the country’s human rights record and dispel the alleged false information about the war on drugs. The Palace also spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council to highlight the government’s commitment to media freedom and human rights.

Andanar, on Monday, gave a rundown of the PCOO’s information materials on the coronavirus disease in recent weeks.

He noted that it was President Duterte who ordered that the regular updates, news and public service announcements on the coronavirus be aired on government broadcast stations, print, and online platforms.

“From the latter weeks of January to February 29, 2020, the PCOO has made approximately 70 informational videos, more than five radio plugs, more than 1,250 social cards and approximately 20 infographics on the COVID-2019,” he said.

He said they also provided more than 750 online news articles, more than 400 broadcast news items, close to 30 print articles, more than 500 situational reports, more than 450 text blasts, more than 280 news tweets, more than 70 radio live interviews, approximately 350 flyers in English and 350 flyers in Filipino about the coronavirus.

He said PCOO’s on-ground events included five Laging Handa press briefings in Malacañang, more than 25 regional and provincial press briefings, close to 15 TV and radio guestings and kapihans, 44 regional inter-agency meetings, and 1 strategic communication workshop for key departments and agencies.

“These, among others, we have done not including our action items for the month of  March,” he said.