THERE are posts in social media currently creating intrigues about the circumstances leading to the disappearance from television of lady broadcaster and commentator Ali Sotto. She has long been a mainstay of GMA News TV’s dzBB for so long.
To us, however, the biggest intrigue is not the absence of Ali Sotto but the change in the programming of the station at the start of 2021. The News and Public Affairs program is changed with something apt for children, the Korean dramas, and that for homemakers.
What happened? Why cannot the station management come up with a simple and honest explanation? For now, the avid followers of the leading news personality of the station are at a loss what is happening. What will that make of its favorite tagline “Kapusong tutoo” if its officials cannot even “walk their talk?”
The other day, Sunday, Davao City topped again in the leading five places with so many COVID-19 new infections in the entire Philippines. It also has so far the most number of confirmed cases in the whole of Mindanao. It is really very unfortunate that Davao City is the most highly urbanized in this part of the country and it has the best medical facilities as well.
It has the most number of communication platforms that can be used in information dissemination to educate the people. And without question, we have leaders who are believed to have the will to impose measures that are intended to slow down the infection if the people comply with these mandates.
Yet, from the way the infection is rising now, it would seem that there is something weak somewhere and the leadership is still unable to find where this weakness is.
We hope that when the most awaited mass vaccination – the anti-COVID measure that is hoped to be the most effective – will come, there will be no more problems in the processes. We wish that it will not duplicate the fate of the distribution of the SAP assistance and the food ration where so many lapses were experienced, some deliberately committed, benefitting politically favored constituents.
We do not know what arrangement is entered into by the government of Davao City with the management of Disaster Radio. But we are of the belief that the station is now the primary broadcast organ of the city government not just for dishing out information in times of calamities but also in ordinary situations.
But it is better that this is being done because the people of the city need only to listen to the station because of the credibility of information as they get the from the mouth of the direct sources. Usually, there are recorded statements issued by the mayor or any of her trusted mouthpieces that will validate its correctness.
It may be recalled that, for several times, this space has been used by us to personally recommend to the city to operate its own radio station so that it can have control of information that will be shared out before, during, and after calamities happen in the city.
Remember the chaos that happened because of that tsunami statement that emanated from the mouth of just one person and passed on to another by mouth and there hardly was any authority to validate it immediately? That was sometime in 2019. And people from the lowlands of the city proper were evacuating to higher grounds because of fear.
Because of this, we see the broadcast medium to be the most effective in reaching people from all walks of life. Besides, in the many disaster management trainings, we have attended, it was always advocated that the most important and effective method of mitigating the impact of disasters to the people is by letting them know the real situation and advising them what should be done instead of adding to the commotion and fear of the emergency.
Now that we are in the midst of the pandemic and there seemed to have some problems in the acceptance of the vaccine to prevent the further spread of the deadly virus, we would like to recommend to the city that it maximizes its use of the Disaster Radio in educating the people of the processes in the vaccination and on the vaccines that would be administered soon. Considering the percentage of the city’s population residing in the rural areas we see it as imperative that all the people be reached in the planned information drive.
The question, however, is the capability of the station in reaching all households in terms of its reach. Can its power cross the mountain ranges surrounding the city? This, we believed, must be looked into by the city leadership if it is to succeed in its endeavor.
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