With COVID-19 being one of the major topics of discussion amongst the local community, the work of the reporter and the media has become even more essential.
While Palau is one of the few nations fortunate to be COVID-19 free, like most nations in the world, we can’t escape the economic consequences of the global pandemic.
I feel fortunate that I was given this platform because I learned so much about different government sector roles and their fight to keep this virus from entering the islands of Palau. Not only that, I get to share the information with the public especially debunking false rumors surrounding COVID-19.
As a reporter and a new one at that, I want to continue to try my best in delivering accurate information and shedding light on the work response the government has been doing to keep Palau as safe as possible. In emergency situation like this, I have a bigger responsibility towards the people by providing them up-to-date accurate information.
Accurate information calms the public down as well as provide them with confidence that their source of information is reliable and responsible.
The PACMAS training was a much-needed capacity building initiative, a young journalist like me would learn from. While Palau is COVID-free, sadly our nation is not immune to the economic impact.
Just recently, I did an interview with Dolphin’s Pacific General Manager Liz Howard and she said that the impact of the COVID-19 has hit the non-profit organization hard. During our meet up she is asking for help from the public to feed the dolphins through these hard times.
When Palau recently got another suspected case, people were frantic and were concerned for the future of their families, particularly the elderly and the children. I have a friend that works in the tourism industry and because of the impact of COVID-19, he is not working and is trying to find employment opportunity so he can earn a living during this troubled time for Palau.
More than ever, this is the time I help the public get some answers on some basic questions, Is the government spending our hard earned money on the right things? How many jobs lost in various industries, in construction, in tourism? Will businesses then be able to pay back their loans? Are businesses at risk of going bankrupt. How are banks responding/ preparing- are they considering repayment holidays? Are some company owners taking temporary pay cuts? How is the government preparing for the impact it will have on government revenue from tax no longer payable?
What other markets are importers looking to for their supplies, especially essential supplies like medicine?
Will donor countries offer monetary donations to help us recover? Does the government have enough money in their back pocket to stay afloat?
The public wants to know everything about Palau’s efforts in response to COVID-19 whether it is knowing the amount of supplies being contributed, what will they be used for, what the economic impact of Covid19 is expected to be and how to access services or assistance. Being able to provide them with timely information makes my job essential and fulfilling.
With the skills I learned from PACMAS Budget report training as well as being mentored by my senior reporters, I am playing my part in being the communication bridge between government and the people.