Press Release
February 2, 2020

Sotto urges for One Info Agency

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III has called for the creation of an inter-agency body to update the public on the medical status of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) and of government actions to control its spread.

Sotto said the people should have easy access not only to clinical concerns but other issues such as travel restrictions, market conditions, economic impacts, tourism-related announcements, and local government advisories, among others.

"Mabuting magkaroon ng isang information agency kung saan lahat ng datos na kailangan ng mamamayan ay madali nilang ma-a-access. Abala ang ating mga health officials sa pag-control ng pagkalat ng nCoV. Mas makakabuti kung hahayaan natin silang mag-concentrate sa medical concerns ng mga pasyente," Sotto said to justify his call.

The Senate President said the inter-agency body shall have representatives or resource persons from the DoH for health updates, the DOT for travel information, the DTI for market concerns, the DOF for economic and business matters, the DOT for tourism guidelines and local government units for community announcements. A daily media briefing can be held to update the public on the latest news about the virus and its effects on various industries.

Information coming from the body will serve as official statements of the government, Sotto said.

Sotto said the body will likewise directly respond to fake information being peddled to the media by unscrupulous individuals or groups which are taking advantage of the situation to discredit government efforts.

"Ang daming kumakalat na fake news ngayon na dumadagdag lang sa public panic. During this time when our country needs to deal with a global threat, we do not need false reports that tend to scare families. What we need now is an official body which will be the sole source of all official information on the nCoV," Sotto said.

The Senate President said the inter-department agency can later be made permanent and serve as the official government instrument for disasters and other calamities.

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