CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Feb. 16 (PIA) - Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director General Ramon Cualoping III have engaged Misamis Occidental media today, Feb. 16, to support the government's COVID-19 vaccination rollout.
"It is always good to engage with the media," Andanar said, as he emphasized that "there is a need to increase the confidence and acceptability of the people towards the vaccine."
He acknolwedged that media has "a big scope of influence" needed for the COVID 19 vaccination to succeed.
The PCOO together with the PIA had been to the the different parts of the country since the start of the pandemic to make sure that there is no misinformation or disinformation about the government programs and policies in response to COVID-19.
"Importante na ma suporthan ninyo ang gobyerno sa pag sibya na magpabakuna. Thirty five percent demand is very low, kinahanglan nato na 70 percent ang ma vaccinated para ma achieve ang herd immunity, dako gyud ang role sa media," Andanar told the press.
Meanwhile, PIA Director-General Ramon Cualoping III identified conving Filipinos to get vaccinated as the most challenging part in the process. That is why the agency had to come up with the communication plan such as the EXPLAIN, EXPLAIN, EXPLAIN, Pagduaw sa Ozamiz, a forum tdesigned to promote understanding on the benefits of the vaccine.
He explained that it does not mean that after vaccination, COVID-19 will disappear. "COVID will still be there. The vaccine, will help our bodies build strong immunity against the virus," he added.
As to which brand is better, Cualoping said, "the stand of the national government is to be brand neutral. Because regardless of brands, these are safe and effective either this comes from China or UK, US, India or Russia.
The government, he said, will only administer safe and effective vaccines that had undergone rigorous process in the vaccine panel of experts headed by Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and given the emergency use of authority given by Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).
As to fake news, Andanar wants that dismiss disinformation to be institutionalized. This is why an P80-million Government Communications Academy will soon rise in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to institutionalize all of the communication policies the Duterte administration has advocated since day one.
He said, this is through the support of Congressman Henry Oaminal, and his peers in congress through passing a budget of P50 million and additional P30 million from Senator Migs Zubiri.
"At PCOO and PIA, we do our best to dismiss disinformation. How? by continuing our efforts to explain and to inform people. At the end of the day, to empower the citizenry, we need people to understand the programs and policies of the government so that they will not easily believe fake news," said DG Cualoping. (JMOR/PIA10)