Jinggoy: Translate disaster emergency alerts to Filipino, dialects

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada wants public service announcements translated to Filipino and regional dialects to help share life-saving information and draw public attention to natural disasters and severe weather conditions,

“Mas magiging epektibo ang mensahe kung mas naiintindihan ito ng mas nakararami. Sa mga pagkakataon na oras ang kalaban, ang kapakanan ng publiko ang dapat natin isaalang-alang,” said Estrada, who is the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation.

“Getting reliable, updated information in the most convenient way, written in languages spoken in the impacted communities when communication becomes especially critical, can help ensure public safety, protect property, elicit cooperation and facilitate response efforts,” he added.

In his proposed Language Accessibility of Public Information on Disasters Act under Senate Bill No. 680, Estrada seeks to mandate all government agencies and local government units (LGUs) to convert in an easily understandable form and translate to Filipino and appropriate regional languages or dialects all information for the public related to disasters and calamities.

Estrada’s proposal also covers information on social amelioration programs, emergency assistance and other social protection measures, disease outbreaks, security concerns of the military and the police, and man-made emergencies.

“As much as practicable, the information should be in plain language and devoid of scientific jargon or technical terminologies. It shall also contain specific information on the extent and scale of impending impact and damage down to barangay level,” the senator said.

Estrada underscored the importance of translating emergency-related written materials in Filipino and regional dialects to ensure that the people are properly informed and have access to alerts through all available media and communication channels.

“More important than economic loss is the danger and the loss of lives of the people because of insufficient or inappropriate communication – misinformation, miscommunication, lack of information in far-flung areas – from authorities to their constituents during times of disasters and calamities,” Estrada said.