DOST webinar on pandemic behavior under way

Published July 7, 2020, 3:43 PM

by Dhel Nazario

The Department of Science and Technology-National Research Council of the Philippines (DOST-NRCP) has launched a webinar that will tackle the behavior, feelings, cognition, gender issues and even an analysis of the work-from-home (WFH) activity during the COVID-19 pandemic


The series called as “Kapakanan ng Tao sa Oras ng Pandemya (KTOP) – COVID”,  started in June and will run until August 18, 2020.

Dr. Maria Cecilia Gastardo-Conaco, a regular member of the Division of Social Sciences, NRCP and a Professor of the Department of Psychology, College of Social Sciences and Philosophy of University of the Philippines Diliman, was the first to present the outputs of her project titled Feelings, Cognitions, Behaviors of Filipinos During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Dr. Conaco presented her investigation on people’s feelings and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic across its timeline and through the various government actions including how they get their information, how they feel, respond, process and react to these various information and their sources.

Conaco used sentiment analysis for its qualitative data and an online survey to get the quantitative data.

“Accordingly, the pandemic has generated much negative affect since it began with worry, anger, concern and frustration as the top affective responses to news from various sources uploaded to YouTube and FB. And while the salience of various emotions appeared to fluctuate across the pandemic timeline, the top emotions remained worry and anger. The only positive emotion to surface was hopefulness but it was not one of the top sentiments to surface,” DOST-NRCP said.

“This pandemic has seen a surge in intense negative emotions amongst us – worry, anxiety, fear, anger, frustration.  This is a NORMAL reaction to the uncertain and stressful events.  You are NOT alone, as this study has shown.  We just need to be more aware of this and not blame ourselves or take it out on others,” Dr. Conaco said. 

 “Social support plays a major role in coping with the uncertainties and attenuates negative affect.  Pandemic guidelines only ask us to practice physical distancing, not social distancing.  So maintain your social connections to family and friends, even if just through social media,” she added.

The agency said that the first recommendation based on the study shows that information communication is very important. Hence, sufficient and reliable information about different aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic should be channeled through reliable and credible sources such as medical experts. 

“Government spokespersons should consult/collaborate with these medical experts to provide clear and reliable information. Likewise, the role of local government units is recognized, and since they are closer to their constituents, they should be available/accessible and provide clear information and guidelines for accessing fair and sufficient services,” it said.  

The four next in line in the KTOP-COVID webinar series are Content Analysis of Government Policies and Issuances Regarding the 2020 Pandemic by Dr. Laufred I. Hernandez on July 7, Gender-Specific Insights Based on COVID-19 Epidemiological and Socio-Economic Data by Dr. Jomar F. Rabajante on July 21, Scoping on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) in the Philippines in the time of COVID 19 Pandemic by Dr. Elizabeth P. De Castro on August 4, and Defining a Gender-responsive Work-from-Home (WFH) Scheme in a Post-ECQ Scenario by Dr. Sumagaysay on August 18.

DOST-NRCP is the premier advisory body on issues of national issues and the only research council mandated to promote and support fundamental or basic research.