May 28, 2023

Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong underscored the role of the media in effectively communicating government policies and advisories during times of emergencies.

“We need to have a plan in every crisis. Even if it is not in writing, we need a plan,” he said in a meeting with government information officers and local media at the Department of Trade and Industry regional office last week.

He said the group must firm up a communications plan advancing health and safety measures while the coronavirus disease-2019 (Covid-19) lingers.

He said the plan is especially valuable as the city transitions from general community quarantine to the new normal, when more people are expected to go out of their homes and businesses are expected to peak anew.

The activity was participated in by Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera Director Helen Tibaldo, City Information chief Aileen Refuerzo, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Baguio president Rene Sales, Benguet Electric Cooperative Institutional Services Manager Delmar Cariño, DTI Information Officer Art Tibaldo, and some members of the local media.

Magalong admitted the city struggled in delivering advisories at the onset of the enhanced community quarantine in March.

He, however, lauded the cooperation among government communication agencies and offices like PIA and PIO with local media practitioners which effectively bridged the communication gap between government authorities and the city’s constituents.

Citing a situation where media cooperation played a big role, the mayor said the conduct of local contact tracing and implementation of the Social Amelioration Program would not have been successful without the help of the local media.

He likewise attributed the recognition of the city’s efforts by the national government to the coordinated efforts of non-government organizations, national government agencies, and the local government.

Meantime, Magalong asked members of the local media to help in disseminating the guidelines and policies of the city’s Returning Baguio Residents (RBR) program.

He said dissemination of correct information is key in the success of the program for the RBRs and to protect them and the residents against the spread of the Covid-19. – Gaby Keith