By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said on Tuesday he is looking toward an “aggressive” media campaign in the wake of a survey commissioned by the city government, which reflected a lack of understanding by Ilonggos on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The survey conducted by Random Access Consultants Inc. (RACI) involved 200 residents who are at least 18 to 60 years old.
The survey was conducted via a face-to-face interview in all the city districts from Oct. 24-27, 2020.
RACI is led by statistics professor Vicente Balinas and sociology professor Liza Baliao.
Baliao presented the results of the survey to the media in a press conference at the Iloilo City Hall on Nov. 10, 2020.
The RACI survey highlighted that majority of the respondents believed:
-persons who were prone to COVID-19 are more than 60 years old and children who are not yet 5 years old;
-they were not prone to COVID-19;
-COVID-19 can spread through the saliva or sweat of a confirmed COVID-19 case;
-symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and cough; and
-washing of hands using alcohol or soap and water will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The survey ultimately revealed that there are gaps in information when it comes to the spread and prevention of COVID-19.
However, the survey also found that the city government “was in the right direction” to stop the spread of COVID-19 by January 2021.
One of the important considerations which the mayor magnified upon was that majority of the respondents were listeners of local AM radio stations such as Bombo Radyo and Aksyon Radyo.
Treñas asked the radio stations to allocate 30 seconds in their programs that will tackle COVID-19 public service announcements.
He suggested to radio stations to invite infectious disease experts who can provide vital information which the public can use.
“The people are listening to [radio stations]. We are not saying which is number one, but all radio stations are being listened to. We’ve released 30-seconder [advisories], which we can ask your outlets to use. You can also invite [infectious diseases] doctors, who can explain the communicability of COVID-19 even to those who aren’t senior or minors,” Treñas said.
The mayor also disclosed that he had asked the help of the Communication and Media Studies (CMS) program of UPV through newly installed Chancellor, Dr. Clement Camposano.
“We are communicating with [CMS] at UPV to help us prepare a media campaign plan against COVID. I asked this of Chancellor Clement [Camposano]. We are also talking to our friends in the media in Manila. When we can finalize this, we will give it to you,” he said.
He emphasized that the media is a significant part of the city’s community-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“My view is that fighting COVID-19 is a community effort, and since you are the ones in media, and the people listen to you, your help will be significant. When we gradually eliminate this, we can also gradually return to normal, of course with face masks, social distancing, face shields or eye guards,” Treñas said.