Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed the creation of a "One Info" inter-agency body tasked to update the public on the status of the novel coronavirus as well as the actions government has taken to control it.
In a statement on Sunday, Sotto stressed the need for the public to have easy access not only to clinical concerns but also on information on travel restrictions, market conditions, economic impacts, tourism-related announcements, and local government advisories, among others, related to the issue of the novel coronavirus.
“Mabuting magkaroon ng isang information agency kung saan lahat ng datos na kailangan ng mamamayan ay madali nilang ma-a-access," Sotto said.
"Abala ang ating mga health officials sa pag-control ng pagkalat ng nCoV. Mas makakabuti kung hahayaan natin silang mag-concentrate sa medical concerns ng mga pasyente,” he added.
According to Sotto, the inter-agency body should be composed of representatives from the Department of Health for medical updates, the Department of Tourism for travel information and tourism guidelines, the Department of Trade and Industry for market concerns, the Department of Finance for economic and business matters, and local government units for community announcements.
A daily media briefings may also be held to provide the public with the latest updates about the novel coronavirus and its effects.
Information from the inter-agency body would act as official statements from the government.
Sotto also envisioned the body as one that would directly respond to fake information put out by "unscrupulous" entities to take advantage of the situation and discredit the efforts of the government against the health crisis.
“Ang daming kumakalat na fake news ngayon na dumadagdag lang sa public panic. During this time when our country needs to deal with a global threat, we do not need false reports that tend to scare families. What we need now is an official body which will be the sole source of all official information on the nCoV,” he said.
As of February 1, the DOH has confirmed two cases of novel coronavirus infection in the country, one of which has died after being admitted to the hospital for pneumonia. — Erwin Colcol/DVM, GMA News