The House of Representatives through the Committee on Tourism has launched an online campaign entitled “IT’S A MASK!” to showcase unity and “bayanihan” against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“IT’S A MASK!” Campaign is a collective effort of the legislators under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano where the House Members will lead the digital campaign of practicing health and safety protocols. The campaign was conceptualized by Tourism Committee chair and Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones and Economic Affairs chair and AAMBIS-OWA Partylist Rep. Sharon S. Garin.
The campaign is a public health promotion project geared towards building public confidence.
The campaign is launched under CONG-TOUR or Congressional Tour, the domestic tourism promotion program initiated last November 2019 in the same committee. The campaign is a public health promotion project geared towards building public confidence that would greatly benefit both the public and private sector, in anticipation of the more intensified opening of other economic activities, especially in the tourism industry, despite the current pandemic.
Aragones explained that “It’s a Mask!” is a play on words of the expression “It’s a Must!” to emphasize the importance of following health and safety guidelines set by the government to fight COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, wearing a medical mask combined with physical distancing and frequent hand-washing are among the preventive measures that can limit the spread of COVID-19.
Aragones said: “Hinihikayat po natin ang bawat barangay, munisipyo, probinsiya, iba’t ibang organisasyon, bata man o matanda, na sumama sa atin sa kampanyang ito. Ngayon na natin pagsasama-samahan ito, hindi bukas, hindi sa isang araw, ngayon na MISMO!”
Data from the Department of Health shows that as of August 1, 2020, 4,963 new cases were reported bringing the total to 98,232 cases; 30,928 of which are active cases, 65,265 recoveries, and 2,039 casualties.
Moreover, the tourism sector is gearing up towards the new economy. The Department of Tourism announced the opening of Boracay and Palawan to local tourists from the same region. It continues to strictly monitor the compliance of businesses, partners and other stakeholders to health and safety protocols in tourist destinations, hotels, resorts, tours and other tourism-related activities as it eyes to reopen tourist destinations as more provinces are put into the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classifications.
Aragones believes that now is the perfect opportunity to urge the public to participate in the campaign aiming to increase public awareness of the benefits of wearing a mask, physical distancing, and frequent hand-washing. This is with the hopes of bringing down the number of COVID-19 cases, assisting the medical community cope with the pandemic and boosting and encouraging domestic tourism.
The campaign aims to increase public awareness of the benefits of wearing a mask.
The third-term lady legislator added: “Kaisa tayo sa kampanya ng DOH sa pagsusuot ng mask sa new normal. “It’s a must!” na magsuot ng mask. Kung lahat ng tao ay uugaliin na magsuot ng mask, maliligtas natin ang buhay natin. Maililigtas pa natin ang buhay ng mga nakapaligid sa atin at maging ang ekonomiya ng bansa, kasama na ang turismo.”
Simultaneous with the campaign launch, an Online Poster Making Contest is also opened inviting the public to create a poster that captures the theme “Wearing Masks, Physical Distancing and Frequent Hand-Washing Save Lives Against COVID-19”. The contest aims to encourage people of all ages to participate in the campaign and to reach as many people as possible through public participation and cooperation, a kind of “bayanihan” where people from different economic classes, sector, and age can promote public health and safety.
The said contest will be judged by House Members, Tourism Committee Chair Hon. Sol Aragones, Economics Affairs Committee Chair Hon. Sharon S. Garin, Health Committee Chair Hon. Angelina “Helen” D.L. Tan, M.D., Disaster Resilience Committee Chair Hon. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Economic Stimulus-Response Package Ad-hoc Committee Chair Hon. Stella Luz A. Quimbo, Arts Culture, and Creative Industries Bloc (ACCIB) Chair Hon. Christopher V.P. De Venecia and Department of Tourism Assistant Secretary for Branding and Marketing Communications Howard Lance A. Uyking.
Cash prizes of up to P25,000 await the winners of the online poster making contest. The contest details and mechanics will be posted on August 3, 2020, Monday at the CONG-TOUR Facebook and can be accessed by clicking the link: https://www.facebook.com/CongressionalTour.
Aragones ardently seeks the public’s support and participation by actively promoting the campaign on digital platforms and in practice. Public health protocol in the time of COVID-19, such as wearing masks, physical distancing, and frequent hand-washing, is essential. “IT’S A MASK!”