Government Communication During COVID-19 Pandemic: The Antiqueño Experience


Author: Edbert Jay M. Cabrillos, Loyalda T. Bolivar, Rowena S. Cabrillos (University of Antique)
Speaker: Edbert Jay M. Cabrillos, Loyalda T. Bolivar, Rowena S. Cabrillos
Topic: Ethnography of Communication
The GLOCAL CALA 2022 General Session


Abstract

Over the past year, the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been very evident and has become the center of global communication in digital spaces. It has changed the normal lives of every citizen from household activities to social interaction. Contemporary societies have experienced tensions due to escalating polarity. Global emergency, however, has highlighted the importance of trustworthiness, correct information dissemination, and effective, and substantial communication. Various institutions have been challenged to achieving dynamic and sound decision-making. The government, particularly, has been one of the leading institutions in disseminating information through media and online platforms. This study was conducted in November 2020-March 2021. A qualitative research approach was designed to explore the communication techniques of local government units in the province of Antique during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected through online non-participant observation using screen capture, and record notes of communication techniques of 12 local government units of the province of Antique from community pages on Facebook. Results showed that the local government units of Antique had various communication techniques in disseminating information to their constituents during the pandemic. The analysis mainly focused on four (4) themes: (1) engaging with different government agencies which include directing interagency communications and taking collaborations with different institutions; (2) taking actions in resolving existing problems which includes leading safety protocols and issuing preventive measures; (3) mitigating misunderstanding and confusion to people which includes broadcasting advising people with scientific-based information and informing people about government decisions and processes; and (4) offering humanitarian support which includes announcement of important dates and details of the support. These results indicated that government communication was dedicated to the dynamic and systematic dissemination of information. Communication techniques applied by the government suggest impartiality between citizens and the state where government performs its societal responsibility. Further, government communication during pandemic implies that capability, accountability, and transparency were embedded in communication techniques in social media.

Keywords: Antique, Communication techniques, Government, Pandemic, Social media.