Giving feedback and helping the government in our fight against COVID 19 is more value-adding to the majority of Filipinos
Since I became involved in leadership discourses back in college, it has been my custom to give direct feedback and only use words that I myself can, and willing to say in front of the concerned person or organization. If there are no other means to get the message across, publicly calling people is my last recourse. Embarrassing people is not only disrespectful, but it affects future collaboration (I will dedicate a full-length article about this framework in another post).
Having said that, let me share with you the gist of the issues I presented to the Department of Health (DOH) in our initial meeting.
I mentioned that this consultation is best done after the 1st case of COVID-19 was recorded. Nevertheless, better late than never. I also suggested, and they agreed, to have two more meetings, (1) Consultative meeting with HR leaders, (2) Townhall meeting with HR communities
Criticism against government
1. The Philippine government doesn’t have or appears not to have a “collective” and “collaborative” strategy.
- Most Filipinos are stuck on the 1st level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (food and money for “Judith”). Thus, they cannot appreciate the lockdown (2nd level which is safety), and this is the reason for the quarantine violations.
- Proponents of the 2nd level are those who can survive a longer lockdown. A collective and collaborative strategy could have been formulated for those stuck on the 1st level so they don’t have to fear hunger or Judith
- Ex. Since we have a limited budget for Ayuda, gov’t could have coordinated with the private sector so large organizations who can afford to adopt a barangay, and/or pre-identify employers who will be giving assistance to their employees. In this case, the budget will be focused mainly on those who badly needed it.
2. The government issue policy directions or courses of action even without implementing guidelines, or proper coordination. This resulted in confusion or inconsistent implementation
- CAMP, SBWS, SAP, food supplies from the province that are being prevented to enter NCR
- Workplaces were opened but public transport is suspended. Since employers are only encouraged to provide shuttle service, employees end up walking or spending more on transportation
- DOLE issued an advisory about forced leave but SOLE Bello’s pronouncement seems to contradict
3. Minimal consultation from the people on the ground
- Policy directions do not reflect the sentiments and suggestions from the people who have the know-how
- If collaboration was made, fewer issues would have happened
4. Being insensitive or lack of professionalism and courtesy
- Stop operations in gov’t offices are being done for as long as 2 weeks, affecting public service in the process. But government employees are “allegedly” still being paid (from the taxes of the people) in full.
- BUT taxpayers are not receiving adequate assistance from the people they are paying. We are not only talking about Ayuda, though temporary relief is good. People need protection from creditors, banks, etc.
- Those sending emails to government agencies do not receive an adequate response. Or gov’t will give a website (ex. SSS) to submit an application but the website crashes because it is not ready for additional traffic.
5. Lack of clear and “all-inclusive” guidelines for employers and HR on the how-tos’ in the workplace.
HR ends up hopping from one website to another or calling one govt’ agency to another for COVID related concerns (SSS, DOLE, DOH, PhilHealth, LGUs, DTI).
6. Leadership is not felt
Actions are perceived as reactive and not properly thought of. And if there is a plan, this plan is not properly communicated and coordinated.
Lapses observed in our fight against COVID-19
- Violations of health protocol likely happen in public transportation, karinderia, public market, and small establishments
- Lack of enforcement on the barangay level
- LGU employees are common violators (traffic enforcers mass gathering and chatting in certain places, not following 50% capacity on government vehicles
Suggestions presented to get wider support and cooperation
- Filipinos would be willing to follow (with few exceptions) if their buy-in were sought, and their concerns were heard, appreciated, and acted upon.
- Regular consultation on all stakeholders (not only to the leaders, but also to those on the ground), and more inclusive involvement of different sectors.
- e-townhall for different communities
- One website or repository for all COVID related issues and FAQs. Issuances are harmonized with the different LGUs and government agencies to help HR professionals and employers.
If you have other observations that you want to convey to help PH fight against COVID 19, or if you want to be part of an eTownhall meeting with DOH, let us know in the comments section below.