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The Philippines creates unified website for COVID-19 information

To disseminate all relevant COVID-19 information through one platform, the government launched the Laging Handa Unified Website in its beta version, earlier this week.

The website was developed by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), in partnership with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

It harmonises data from different sources, giving the public easier access to information. It aims to help stop fake news from spreading by providing timely, accurate, and reliable information related to the pandemic.

According to a press release, the website is powered by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA). The partner-developer created a content management system (CMS) and administrative interface for the unified website for an easier and more efficient interface.

DICT also ensures the security and privacy of the website against internal and external threats.

As recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning, the portal is the designated platform for all COVID-19-related matters.

The website features the 4Ks: Kalusugan, Kabuhayan, Kaayusan, Kinabukasan, which explains the government’s whole-of-nation approach in beating the pandemic. It also acts as a guide to direct the public to the information they need to acquire based on the 4Ks, the release noted.

  • Kalusugan: This provides the epidemiological data of COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 case maps, advisories, and issuances from the Department of Health.
  • Kabuhayan: The tab contains direct links to other government programs which are relevant to jobs, cash assistance, and other economic advisories and safety nets.
  • Kaayusan: It provides practical information for interzonal and intrazonal guidelines, a timeline of government policies and actions, and #DismissDisinformation, which debunks unverified reports and other forms of disinformation that may affect the overall unified response to the COVID-19.
  • Kinabukasan: The tab contains a list of government projects. There are sections explaining guidelines for the incoming school year, the Balik Probinsya program, small business wage subsidy programs, and the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act accomplishment and transparency tracker.

The website also contains frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19. It also features government resolutions, issuances, memorandum, and guidelines. It offers contains news, presidential briefings, and Laging Handa briefings.

An official emphasised the importance of having a unified message and a streamlined communication platform such as Laging Handa.

The Laging Handa Unified Website will provide accurate information in the time of COVID-19. This will fight fake news and disinformation that only foster panic in people, he said.

Recently, The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), a government-run organisation, started an online course on “Practicing COVID-19 Preventive Measures in the Workplace”.

As per Memorandum No. 245 dated 29 June, the e-learning course was initially intended for TESDA personnel as part of the agency’s precautionary measures in the workplace, as OpenGov reported.

Now, the online course is open to the public to increase awareness of the nature of the virus, its transmission, and the health and safety protocols, which are vital in the prevention of the virus, especially in the workplace.

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