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Did the Information Reach You?

by Marlon P. Labastida

It has been clearly stated by the government, specifically the Department of Health, since the start of this pandemic about the new normal ways as we go along this journey of battling against the new coronavirus disease. Some of these are wearing of face masks when going out, working from home, distancing by one meter from one another when in public places, avoiding crowded places and putting oneself in quarantine once suspected or infected by the virus.
But at the top of these new norms that most of the countries are doing today, I think that we should also include, as a new normal, the religious reading of memoranda coming from the different departments of the government. By doing such, we will become aware and be informed about the current situation in our country.
However, by so doing, we can’t deny that oftentimes we forget to consider that many people have limited knowledge of English. I must say this because most of the memoranda, which are being circulated today, are written in English, making it hard for many people to understand. Hence, gleaned from my local experiences in our place, some of them would just frustratingly stop reading the memoranda and would better ask someone to translate these for them to understand what are written in there.
As a result, I think that there is really a need for the government to think of ways that the message they intend to convey will be understood even to the least knowledgeable person, especially that relevant information are very crucial today. Aside from that, it has to be accessible not only to the people who live in a technology-rich environment, but also to those who are living in remote or far-flung areas wherein butterfly antenna is unable to receive signal for a television or even for a radio to function well.
Imagine a person who walks more than a kilometer of steep and rocky road just to buy basic goods and avail of basic services at the town proper. He is unable to do so due to unavailability of information or the incomprehensible message in the English-written memorandum. This person has to go back because he is not fully informed that a valid ID or a QR code is needed when entering a mall or a supermarket. For some, they might think that this experience is just one of the common situations that people are experiencing today. But in reality, this had happened, a testimony that if information is not properly disseminated, hundreds of lives of the common and non-English proficient Filipinos will be adversely affected.

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