Information drive

"The PCOO should just do its job."


In my past columns, I have urged the Duterte administration to embark on a massive education and information campaign in the wake of the dreaded and still incurable novel coronavirus. It has spread beyond the borders of China; the World Health Organization has declared a global emergency because of it, Santa Banana!

It seems, however, that the Presidential Communication Operations Office under Secretary Martin Andanar are sitting on their fat as*es, unmindful of their mandate to keep the people informed.

Take a look at what is happening at the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac. The Department of Health had wanted to quarantine the Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan City there, but the Capas mayor initially declined despite assurances that the virus is not airborne and could not affect the community.

This is all a result of the lack of information about the virus. The disease is also generating Sinophobia or discrimination against the Chinese. And yet the Duterte administration remains complacent about what is happening.

What I know is that it is not airborne, and one can only be infected by being in contact with an infected person.

This is why the Department of Health advises people who go to crowded places to always wash their hands. That's actually basic hygiene.

The lack of basic hygiene by the poor and uneducated makes the information campaign critical.

I have been informed that somebody can have a strong immune system and show no symptoms and yet still be a carrier of the disease. This is why I intend to stay at home, my gulay!

A daily press briefing is not enough. I repeat: There must be a massive education and information campaign on this, which should have started yesterday!

All we can do is to pray that experts find a vaccine to prevent the pandemic.

* * *

There are a lot of misgivings and contrary views on the insistence of President Rodrigo Duterte to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement, a treaty which was ratified by the Senate in 1999.

The President is doing this just because the visa of his friend, Senator Ronald dela Rosa, has been canceled.

Even some of the President's allies in the Senate are not in favor of the termination.

Being the chief architect of foreign relations, Duterte has the prerogative to terminate the treaty, but he must at least have a sound reason for doing so.

My gulay, even the Foreign Affairs Secretary, Teddyboy Locsin, is in favor of a review! There is indeed a need to review the provisions of the VFA, especially the one that covers what ensues when a member of the US Armed Forces commits a crime here.

Santa Banana, in two cases, jurisdiction of Philippine courts was negated because of this provision.

A review of the VFA like the Mutual Defense Treaty and the Enhanced Cooperation Defense Agreement is necessary, indeed. But not for a reason as Bato's visa getting canceled!

But will the VFA be finally terminated? Can Duterte still change his mind? 

Topics: coronavirus , VFA , DOH
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