An official of the House of Representatives on Tuesday recommended to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 the conduct of a “shame and fame campaign” as part of measures to fight the dreaded disease.
Deputy Speaker and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez aired the proposal as he urged the public to start using the word “bayaniyan” to describe COVID-19 patients who volunteer to open up and reveal their identities to help government in its contact tracing efforts.
He coined the word “maytamayan” to refer to people who discriminate against persons suffering from the dreaded ailment.
“It’s high time we start a ‘shame and fame campaign’ as a weapon in this difficult fight against COViD-19. I appeal to the government and the public to join hands in pursuing this drive,” the administration lawmaker said.
According to Fernandez several high government officials and legislators fit the “bayanihan” description for declaring their COVID-19 condition after testing postive for the disease.
Among them are Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Juan Edgardo Angara; Cabinet Secretaries Eduardo Año, Mark Villar and Leonor Briones; television personalities Howie Severino and Michael V.
Fernandez noted that the House of Representatives also has its share of “bayaniyan.” They are Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur); Reps. Henry Villarica (Laguna); Samier Tan (Sulu) and Eric Go-Yap (ACT-CIS Partylist).
He explained that Yap should be commended for promptly telling the House media that he tested positive for COVID 19 although the Department of Health later admitted its error and disclosed that the solon had a negative test result.
Fernandez also called on the House leadership and his colleagues to promote ‘shame and fame’ campaign in local government units of their congressional districts.
“People I call “maytamayan” are quick to condemn and discriminate when it is their acts that deserve condemnation and even, humiliation,” Fernandez stressed.
He added: “I also urge the thousands suffering from COVID-19 to help government prevent the spread of the disease by allowing the publication of their names. Higit na madali ang contact tracing kung makikilala sila ng publiko.”
Fernandez said there are now dozens of public officials and celebrities who deserve to be called “bayaniyan.”
The Laguna lawmaker said he supports the proposal of Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor to amend the law that prohibits health authorities from disclosing the identity of persons suffering from dreaded diseases.
During the Committee on Good Government hearing on Monday, Defensor demanded the publication of all persons infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus as an effective contact tracing method aimed at preventing the further rise in COVID-19 cases.
Defensor explained that unmasking the identities of infected persons could be the best manner of “contact tracing”.
The administration solon underscored the need to resort to such measures since the country is facing the worst public health threat ever experienced in history.
Fernandez said the law protecting a person’s privacy should exclude circumstances when public health is under threat.