Press Release
May 18, 2020

Nancy to DILG, PCOO: Use roadshow budget for Covid info drive, not Cha-Cha signature drive ...says focus must be to increase public awareness, preparedness

Sen Nancy Binay today said government agencies tasked in pushing for federalism should rather engage in an aggressive information campaign about Covid instead of focusing their budgets on gathering signatures for charter change.

"Sayang po 'yung milyun-milyong budget ng DILG at PCOO na ginagasta sa federalism roadshows na sana po ay sagot sa kumakalam na sikmura. Ang priority dapat ng gobyerno ngayon ay solusyon sa problema, 'di pirma sa cha-cha," the senator said.

According to Binay, with the public still clueless on what to expect and and how to prepare as the country transitions from MECQ or MGCQ and towards the new normal, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) 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. Dapat merong aggressive effort to put into infomercials and readable printed formats ang lahat ng kaliit-liitang detalye ng safety and health protocols para naman alam at handa ang publiko to live and embrace the new norm," she said

Binay added that the PCOO and the DILG should redirect their federalism roadshow budgets and instead prioritize public health interests in the light of a possible surge of the coronavirus infections under MECQ or GCQ.

"May krisis 'di ba? Bakit cha-cha ang inuuna? Matagal na po nating sinasabi na we are at a crucial point where communication is vital in confronting a state of public health emergency. Mag-step up naman sana ang PCOO at DILG in elevating the ante in risk communication.

"There should be a uniform standard information campaign na dapat nakalatag nang malinaw sa isang risk communication plan. Dapat ipinapaabot sa tao na seryosohin ang safety protocols. 'Pag sinabing 'social distancing', 'wag kang didikit o lalapit. More than two months na puro presscon, pero wala pa ring flyers, primers, posters, infomercials na nagagawa ang PCOO o DILG para madaling intindihin ng mga tao ang protocols. Dapat may hinahawakang booklet o manual na nakasulat ang mga dapat o di-dapat gawin," the senator noted.

Moreover, Binay noted that the DILG has a hefty budget for their Balangayan CORE roadshows earmarked for 81 provinces to drum up support for federalism, adding that it would have been acceptable if the DILG used its budget to strengthen contact tracing capacities of LGUs instead of focusing on gathering two million signatures.

"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. Sana mas binigyan ng priority ang contact tracing capacities ng mga barangay. 'Di po ito ang panahon para pag-usapan ang pederalismo. Ang mga nangangailangan po ng ayuda't trabaho ngayon ay mga tao mismo," she pointed out.

Binay said while the DILG is busy in gathering 2 million signatures for charter change, it mismatches the fact that only more than 200,000 Filipinos have been tested for Covid-19 since February.

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