PH industry leaders support DOH's BIDA campaign against COVID-19

The Philippine Department of Health (DOH), with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted its official partners’ launch for the “BIDA Solusyon sa COVID-19” campaign , recently with some of the Philippines’ top business leaders and government agencies, signaling a multi-sectoral push to reinforce protective behavior that can lead to economic productivity. During the launch, key industry leaders committed to promote and instill awareness on individual and collective roles to help battle COVID-19.

BIDA Solusyon is a social and behavior change campaign that encourages the practice of four key preventive behaviors: Bawal walang maskI-sanitize ang kamay at iwas-hawak sa mga bagay, Dumistansya ng isang metro, at Alamin ang totoong impormasyon. Among the industries represented in the launch were transport, ride-sharing, retail, IT, finance, banking, insurance, energy, advertising, and food and beverage.

“The last few months have been nothing, if not challenging. But despite the uncertainties, it is clear to us at the DOH that if everyone continues to work together to build new habits, then we will overcome our current situation,” said Health OIC-Undersecretary Marie Rosario Singh-Vergeire. “This is why we are so thankful that the public and the private sector have joined us in this campaign because they will help our message reach as many people as possible.”

During the launch, retail shopping powerhouses SM Investments Corporation and NCCC pledged to promote BIDA Solusyon. The ride-hailing service Angkas and global fast-food giant McDonalds also committed to help build consumer confidence through the widespread adoption of the campaign’s objectives. Global consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G) also supported the campaign.

Mega Global Corporation, one of the country’s most recognized brands of canned sardines, pledged to release BIDA Solusyon information materials through their existing channels. The company’s canned sardines are distributed to thousands of groceries and sari-sari stores throughout the country, which would provide substantial reach for the campaign’s key messages.

President and CEO of 7-Eleven Philippines Victor Paterno also committed a portion of the company’s monthly P30-million media budget to support a barangay-specific information campaign. According to Paterno, he plans to coordinate with the LGUs to identify the most needed messages from the BIDA campaign in a particular area so that the 7-Eleven branch in that locale can adjust their information dissemination.

Within the government itself, BIDA Solusyon has already begun to gain traction with the other national line agencies. The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), the Inter-agency Task Force, and the National Task Force rally behind the campaign.

"The BIDA Solusyon Campaign is a pivotal opportunity for all sectors to engender behavioral change among the public in a singular, unified advocacy," said PCOO Undersecretary George Apacible. "We intend to use our role and work together with the DOH, those from the private sector and the organizations joining us today to BIDA solusyon.

The long list of the private sector and academe partners continues to grow as members from every layer of the public sphere begin to become part of the solution against COVID-19.

“With the possibility that the virus will be around for some time, it is crucial that the public learn how to change their behavior and make it part of their regular lifestyle,” said Apacible.

Even renowned show business personalities have allied themselves with the cause, such as household-favorite Alden Richards. As the face of the BIDA Solusyon campaign, Richards aims to deliver the message that an act intended to help protect human lives, no matter how small, can make anyone a hero.

During the launch, the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) announced that it would be deploying its assets to help spread awareness of the campaign.

Moreover, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) began discussions with BIDA Solusyon’s private sector partners to help identify target LGUs that need the most help. The department has also rebranded their Disiplina Muna campaign which takes a soft approach to promoting the health guidelines.

"This campaign not only appeals to the citizenry and seeks behavior change, but it also appeals to the Filipino's sense of nationalism, what we call as pagmamahal ng ating bansa," said DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. "It pricks the heart of every Filipino and asks them to do their part para maging solusyon sa COVID-19. Upang ligtas ang bayan, ultimately maging ligtas ang pamilya. [To save the country, we have to save the family.

The event inaugurated the collaborative efforts between government, private, and development partners, with the USAID providing financial and technical assistance for the first phase of its rollout. Moving forward, the private sector is expected to have more involvement in the campaign due to their presence in the lives of Filipino consumers.

“We are calling on all business and NGO leaders to support a positive and sustainable change of Filipino behavior, so they may be better equipped to protect themselves and the lives of others,” said Singh-Vergeire. "For us to keep as many people safe as we can, we all have to work together to BIDA Solusyon against COVID-19.”