By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Nancy Binay on May 18, Monday, urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) to drop its signature campaign for Charter Change and instead launch an aggressive information drive on COVID-19.
Binay lamented how the DILG and PCOO are using government funds for federalism roadshows that could have solved the problems of families who have yet to receive any financial aid from the government since it imposed strict quarantine protocols to prevent the spread of the disease.
“Ang priority dapat ng gobyerno ngayon ay solusyon sa problema, ‘di pirma sa Cha-Cha, (The government’s priority should be a solution to the problem, not signatures for Cha-Cha),” the senator said.
Binay stressed that, until now, the public is still clueless on what to expect and how to prepare as the country transitions from a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) or modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) towards the “new normal.”
Both agencies, she said, “have big shoes to fill” when it comes to information campaign.
“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 stressed.
“There should have been aggressive effort to put into infomercials and readable printed formats even the most little detail regarding safety and health protocols so the public would know and be prepared to live and embrace the new norm,” she said
Binay added that the PCOO and the DILG should focus on preventing a possible surge in coronavirus infections under MECQ or GCQ, noting that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country has yet go down.
“May krisis, ‘di ba? Bakit Cha-Cha ang inuuna? Matagal na po nating sinasabi na (There’s a crisis right? Why prioritize Cha-cha? We have long insisted that) we are at a crucial point where communication is vital in confronting a state of public health emergency,” she pointed out.
“Mag-step up naman sana ang PCOO at DILG (I hope the PCOO and DILG would step up) in elevating the ante in risk communication,” she reiterated
“The current COVID situation is not slowing 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 further said.
Binay said the government should, at this point, intensify contact tracing capacities of local government units (LGUs). Yet, neither PCOO or DILG has yet to distribute flyers, primers, posters, or infomercials about COVID-19.
While the DILG is busy gathering two million signatures for charter change, Binay said it mismatches the fact that only more than 200,000 Filipinos have been tested for COVID-19 since February.
“Di po ito ang panahon para pag-usapan ang pederalismo. Ang mga nangangailangan po ng ayuda’t trabaho ngayon ay mga tao mismo (This is not the time to raise the issue on federalism. What the people need today are cash aid and livelihood),” she stressed.