A focus group discussion- post training monitoring was held for Tabuelan Port personnel last January 14, 2021 at the Tabuelan Port.
There were five port personnel who joined the focus group discussion. They were composed of the port administrator and four of his administrative staff.
As a background, port personnel of Tabuelan Port including members of the Philippine Coast Guard and port administrative staff were trained on risk communication and infection prevention and control last December 3, 2020. Since then, they were expected to apply the knowledge that they got during the training.
Since ports are receiving ends of inbound and outbound passengers, in this case, passengers travelling to and from Tabuelan and Negros Occidental, there is a risk of them being carriers of the virus. The coast guards and personnel working in the ports thus play a very essential role in ensuring a very minimal and if possible, no risk at all, of transmission of the virus among people if there happens to be a positive case in the port, who may also be asymptomatic. Thus, there was a need to know how the trained port people have been performing this essential task since the training they had last December 3.
Since they may be involved in certain circumstances when they have to explain to people matters related with the virus and its effect on people’s lives, there was also a need to evaluate how they have applied their knowledge on risk communication and community engagement.
The five port personnel said being government employees, they were obligated to be models of the health protocols and play a very important part in the efforts to control the transmission of COVID-19. Thus, being frontliners working in the port and exposed daily to passengers traveling to and from Negros Occidental, they should be very strict in ensuring that passengers practice the health protocols. They said that they ensured that there is always social distancing, that people wear face masks and face shields at all times. Since there is a handwashing facility in the terminal area, they encouraged the people to use it before departing and upon arrival. There was also a limit of the number of passengers who can board the vessels to ensure that there is social distancing inside the vessel.
Regarding communication to different types of audiences and different circumstances about COVID-19, the port personnel said that the training is useful to them since it gave them pointers on how to converse with different types of audience regarding COVID-19.
They said that they would continue to practice the basic health protocols and remind passengers who do not do so, to do it. They would also disseminate information on COVID-19 to their neighbors and office mates.