Senate President Franklin M. Drilon on Thursday underscored the urgent need to address the growing misinformation and misunderstanding about Ebola.

Image/Philippines DOH
Image/Philippines DOH

Drilon said the flak received by acting Health Secretary Janette L. Garin when she went to Caballo Island highlights the need to step up information campaigns about Ebola.

“There is undeniably a growing misunderstanding about the disease which creates unnecessary panic and anxiety among our people. I myself have a very limited knowledge about the virus and so do my colleagues,” said Drilon, adding that many Filipinos are unaware of the on the nature and symptoms of Ebola, hence the panic and fear.

“That is why the government must immediately intensify its information dissemination campaign in order to allay fears and prevent the spread of speculations and rumours which only confuse the public,” Drilon stressed.

“At this time when Ebola is a threat, I appeal to everyone to allow the experts to speak and educate the public. Let us avoid creating undue fear and panic. Let us be united in maintaining our country’s Ebola- free status,” Drilon emphasized.

The Senate leader also said he believes that Garin, as the chairperson of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in the Philippine, was only performing her duties when she went to Caballo Island to ensure that the Filipino United Nation Peacekeepers are afforded the proper medical care.

“Peacekeepers were checked and nobody was symptomatic when the inspection was conducted,” noted Drilon.
“As a health professional, Garin is fully aware of her actions. Let us not go overboard. I believe she will avoid actions that will endanger the public,” he added.

Drilon also said that he was informed by DOH that the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is only required when in close contact with a person who is displaying the symptoms of Ebola. PPEs are also in limited supply around the world, hence the DOH is ensuring that PPEs are used properly only when needed.