Here, we shine a light on some of our
government leaders’ laudable COVID-19
responses, so that we can further
capacitate our health systems and future-proof
our cities and provinces against all types of crises.
BY LAKAMBINI BAUTISTA
IN TIMES OF A PANDEMIC like COVID-19,
effective communication strategies must be utilized to inform the community about the measures being
implemented by its local government to curb the spread of the virus. The City of Manila, under the leadership of Mayor Isko Moreno, has been exemplary in this respect.
Since Day 1 of his mayorship, the city chief has been using social media—particularly Facebook—as a
tool to engage his constituents. On his page, the Mayor talks about his short- and long-term plans for the city, his opinions on issues affecting Manileños. He even takes his viewers with him on his nightly visits to
different areas of Manila, when he personally checks the progress of the projects he has implemented. It has also become a habit for Manileños to watch his State of the City Address.
So when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, the City of Manila had already established a strong relationship with its constituents. Manileños had a common space to virtually meet, get the latest updates
on COVID-19, report the plight of their barangays, air sentiments, and send messages of appreciation and
When news of outbreak erupted, Mayor Isko immediately informed his city about the implementation of CODECOVID- 19 (Contain and Delay). His online presence helped ease people’s fears, knowing that their Mayor was on top of the situation.
The mayor’s social media team also posted realtime video coverage of the mayor and vice mayor’s
visits to different areas in Manila, press briefings, distribution of cash pensions, and other official
On Mayor Isko’s Facebook page, they regularly remind citizens to wear a face mask, observe social
distancing, and practice regular handwashing. Art cards providing clear and concise information about
COVID-19 and empowering messages for frontliners were also posted regularly.
There are daily updates on the city’s relief operations, clearly observing transparency in reporting donations received. Posts are accompanied by a photo or video of actual cash, checks, and goods received. People are also informed about the implementation of new ordinances and executive orders (e.g., the curfew imposed in keeping with the enhanced community quarantine, the closure of malls and similar establishments, and the 48-hour hard lockdown in Tondo), the schedule of Kadiwa Rolling Store’s delivery of fresh products and vegetables, and other relevant news.
It is easy to reach the mayor for any COVID-related concerns. People are highly encouraged to participate in the Digital Health Survey, made available on Mayor Isko’s FB page, which is one way for the city to track its COVID-19 cases. Follow-ups with PUIs are done by the Manila Emergency Operation Center Hotline (MEOC).