PIA chief highlights info drive vs fake news amid COVID-19 vaccine rollout

By Jennifer Tilos

NEGROS ORIENTAL, March 4 (PIA) — Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Director-General Ramon Cualoping III highlighted the agency’s efforts to counter fake news specifically about COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout during his interview over “Let’s Talk,” a local TV program that is also aired online. 

Cualoping said the PIA’s campaign involves aggressively presenting facts and using various media platforms to explain and secure the cooperation of the people at the grassroots level. 

With the communication plan dubbed “Explain, Explain, Explain,” the campaign is designed to promote understanding on the benefits of the vaccine and to correct the misunderstanding on the inoculation, the PIA chief said.

Cualoping stressed that the objective of the government is to inoculate at least 70 percent of the Philippine population to achieve herd immunity.

He explained that the vaccines will help build strong immunity against the virus.

“We are here to help the national government spread the good narrative and stop fake news and help the government in spreading the good narrative especially when we recover from the pandemic, and it begins now,” Cualoping said.

In the same interview hosted by Doc Dinno Dipositario, host of the TV program, the gains of Rehabinasyon and End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) were highlighted in relation to the fight against the illegal drugs trade and insurgency using the “whole-of-nation” approach.

The government continues to fight against illegal drugs through the Rehabinasyon campaign which advocates for a holistic approach that provides information on drug-related statistics, medical treatment of drug dependents, and reintegration through livelihood and employment programs.

“However, it is really unfortunate that evil really exists and in that aspect, drugs will never stop because evil always exists. But the end is always to mitigate drugs in the country,” Cualoping said.

He reported that the government has managed to reform two million drug users to be integrated back into society and at the same time have opened rehabilitation centers nationwide.

Aside from conducting anti-illegal drug operations, the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (ICAD) has also enhanced its rehabilitation and advocacy efforts which include drug-free workplaces in government and private offices, strengthening partnerships with local governments for monitoring Anti-Drug Abuse Councils, and establishing more rehabilitation, reintegration, and reformation facilities and programs in all regions.

Aside from conducting anti-illegal drug operations, the Department of Interior and Local Government has already strengthened the anti-drug abuse councils (ADACs) to sustain the fight against illegal drugs in the barangays.

“Hopefully before the term of President Duterte ends, we will be able to institutionalize the ADAC through a legislation, so that even though wala na si Presidente, we will still continue the fight against drugs,” Cualoping added.  (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)