Action for Economic Reforms (AER) has called on other members of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to provide more regular and comprehensive updates amidst the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Part of effective implementation is regularly updating the Filipino people on measures and guidelines being implemented while the country is under the enhanced community quarantine.  We hope that the other members of the IATF also join the Department of Health in consistently briefing the public, and keeping Filipinos well-informed,” AER president Jessica Reyes-Cantos said in a statement.

Cantos specifically suggested that the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) be among the agencies to provide regular public briefings in all media platforms, given the importance of social amelioration measures and a continuous food production during this ongoing pandemic.

“During this time of emergency, the national government needs to give a complete picture of what is going on, how it intends to keep things in check, and ensure that people’s most basic needs are met.  Apart from sending memos that must have full clarity of what to do, concerned authorities must also hold regular briefings to LGUs and to the public to ensure that directive and guidelines are properly understood and promptly implemented,” she explained.

Cantos cited issues on the ground with regard to the delay of farmers and fisherfolks’ inter-barangay or inter-municipality movement despite clear guidelines from DA stating that healthy and strong people in the agriculture sector must be allowed to continue tending the fields or going out to the sea.  She emphasized the need for more effective dissemination of these guidelines to the checkpoint personnel implementing the measures.

“Our healthy farmers and fisherfolk must be allowed to continue working, not only because this is their only source of livelihood, but also because we must not hamper the food supply chain,” she added.

“During this difficult period, it is essential that government, civil society, and the private sector have unhampered information flow for us to continue to effectively work together, and prevent cases of unnecessary panic and uncertainty,” Cantos added. (END)