Mindanao Study Center

Reflections on the COVID-19 Communication

Speakers: Prof. Raymundo Pavo and Asst. Prof. Nelfa Glova

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, people faced unprecedented situation, leaving questions unanswered that resulted in confusion, panic, and despondency among the people. With this, Prof. Raymundo R. Pavo explores the connection between philosophy and communication and how they both intersect and interact with each other. 

In his paper presentation, “Albert Camus’ The Plague and Covid-19: Some Philosophical Reflections,” Prof. Pavo offers ways in understanding our experience by “dissecting” the characters in Albert Camus’s novel The Plague. The situation that the characters were in the novel is closely similar to our current situation during the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel The Plague, says Prof. Pavo, “allowed [him] to reconstruct or to re-live what happened so quickly and that I am tasked to be more mindful of what I am undergoing.”

He analyzes each major characters to understand fully their literary functions in relation to the key personalities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through understanding the literary and social functions of the characters, we can understand the COVID-19 pandemic situation much better. Prof. Pavo highlights the importance of how communication directly affects our actions, how each of our actions and survival instincts intersect, and how “direct interpersonal communication with people’s struggles [serves] as pathway to self-realization.” 

In the second part of the webinar, Prof. Nelfa M. Glova summarizes the COVID-19 situation in terms of communication. In her presentation entitled, “Some Reflections on COVID-19 Communication: Putting Forward a Culture-Centred Health Communication,” Prof. Glova gives a walkthrough of the COVID-19-related communication approaches and analyzes the materials used by health institutions and introspections of health communication. Prof. Glova then proposes a culture-centered framework for health communication.

Prof. Glova states that our materials are too “focused on a cognitive-based communication.” Although it is important that the materials “demonstrate…a euro-centric biases of individualism” in order to produce effective communication materials. Prof. Glova recommends two emergent approaches—the culturally-sensitive approach and the culturally-centered approach. By using these approaches, they “help…us change the social surroundings that affect or shape health behavior of people through dialogues with cultural members.As a result, these approaches can also highlight the voices of the marginalized sectors. 

With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, how does reflecting our situation helps us communicate and understand the situation better? And what communication approaches can be improved? What is the better alternative that could serve better the interest of the Filipino population?

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