CEBU CITY – With the anticipated roll out of the national COVID-19 vaccination program, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and its attached agency, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), have started incorporating in its communications platforms the information and education campaign on the said program.
PCOO has kicked off its communications plan with the town hall meeting dubbed “Explain, Explain, Explain” in Mandaue City, Cebu on Tuesday. In his message, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar stressed that equipping the public with the right information will reduce COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.
“As the lead communications arm of the government, the PCOO continues to operate its Laging Handa Information and Communications Campaign to assure the public that the Duterte administration is on top of the COVID-19 situation in the country,” he said.
“This includes our strides to disseminate and reiterate the need to observe health protocols and precautionary measures, to dispel false information, and to advocate for preparedness and vigilance and harnessing solidarity through participatory governance,” he added.
The PCOO Chief assured that the vaccine roadmap of the country is taking careful execution of the stages that the National Task Force against COVID-19 has outlined, to ensure that the allocated budget will not go to waste.
“The road ahead of the COVID-19 roadmap will not be easy. As we have seen in reports from other countries, difficulties will always be present. There were shortcomings in policies implemented and we should learn from these,” he said, as he cited some countries that have struggled to manage the implementation of their own vaccine program.
He stressed that the government cannot afford to be greatly blindsided when there are already real lessons to learn from other countries.
“All of us here are part of the government that will solve this problem and the COVID-19 vaccine is our hope. But if we cannot manage it well, it can also be our pitfall,” he said.
“For example, logistically the US is having a problem. Some of its states do not have the right facilities to store their vaccines. If you cannot store the vaccines properly, then there’s spoilage. Now, we cannot afford to spoil the vaccines because it will cost a lot of money,” he added.
He also bared that the metropolitan areas of Manila, Cebu, and Davao will be among the first to receive the vaccines, since they are identified as COVID-19 high-risk areas.
The series of engagements that the PCOO will be undertaking together with its attached agencies is founded on saving lives, reviving hope, and shaping the future. There will also be separate town hall meetings in Siquijor and Dumaguete this week.
The event was attended by officials from the local government of Cebu City and Mandaue City, and national government agencies, including the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).