NOTING that most disaster announcements are made in English or Filipino, which are often not understood by many, leaving them misinformed and unprepared, Senator Lito Lapid filed Senate Bill No. 275 seeking to mandate all government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to convert into an easily understandable form and translate to Filipino and any other appropriate regional language or dialect all their announcements, advisories, press releases, issuances and any other information relevant to a local or national disaster or emergency.
Accessibility to information that can be easily understood, especially during disasters and typhoons, will allow for preparedness of the citizenry, Lapid said, considering the many dialects that exist.
Lapid further stressed that during disasters and other emergency situations, an informed public is “prepared and ready” public.
In filing Senate Bill No. 275, otherwise known as the “Language Accessibility of Public Information on Disasters Act”, Lapid noted that this proposed measure will make certain that information relating to impending calamities or emergencies such as epidemics, outbreaks, and public health emergencies, shall be language-accessible and readily-comprehensible, especially to speakers of our regional languages and dialects.
Also included in the bill are translations of information on social amelioration programs, emergency assistance and other social protection measures, disease outbreaks, typhoon warnings, signals, volcano, earthquake, tsunami, and landslide bulletins.
“Layunin natin na ang lahat ng impormasyon tungkol sa mga kalamidad ay mas madali nang mauunawaan ng ating mga kababayan, lalo na yung mga nasa iba’t-ibang rehiyon ng ating bansa.
Mahalagang maprotektahan natin ang ating mga kababayan sa panganib dulot ng hindi sapat o hindi naaangkop na komunikasyon, maling impormasyon, o kakulangan ng sapat na impormasyon sa malalayong lugar mula sa mga awtoridad hanggang sa kanilang mga nasasakupan sa panahon ng mga sakuna at kalamidad,” Lapid added.
Lapid said the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) should render the necessary technical assistance and expertise to the government agencies and local government units and monitor their compliance with the duties mandated by the Act.