An Assessment of the impact of trust and rule of law based on the legal framework of the Philippine Covid-19 response in engaging Filipino citizens
Statement of the problem: Do trust and rule of law play a role in engaging people in following the health protocols1 of COVID‐19 response to reduce the high rate of COVID‐19 infections in the Philippines?
Methods, techniques, and data used: The research method used for this study followed the WHO standard research protocol (Betsch C W. L., 2020). The questionnaire is provided at this link. The researcher used an “online survey of nonprobability sampling (Vehovar V, 2016) to recruit” respondents by posting the said survey on social media sites, asking the overall population (individuals aged ≥”18 years) to answer the” said survey.
Perceptions on individual risk were determined “across age groups using an ANOVA model using risk perception as the dependent variable and age as the independent variable (four age groups).
The following correlation was tested using the Pearson correlation coefficient:
1) “Between crisis management attitudes and compliance with” behavioral guidelines as well as “between attitudes toward crisis management and perceptions of economic threat”.
2) “Between the most credible spokesperson (independent variable) and attitudes toward crisis management” (dependent variable).
3) “Between the total impression of danger and the threat” to one''s livelihood.
4) “Between perceptions of total risk and attitudes towards” how the government has handled the pandemic.
The result of the “correlation between attitudes” towards "crisis management and behavioral guidelines compliance" were then compared to the existing literature on how the lockdown was implemented on the ground based on two laws, the Bayanihan To Heal as One Act as well as the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act using the lens of the International Health Regulation (IHR) as well as the Siracusa Principles which “are legally binding on the” Philippine Government.
Major findings of the study: Risk Perception:
Thirty‐four percent (34%) of the study sample perceived the the likelihood of contracting the new coronavirus as moderate with a mean score of 4.02 (95% CI 3.53 ‐ 4.52; scale 1 ‐ 7); The same is also true with perceived susceptibility as a result of an infection with coronavirus (34%) with a mean score of 4.22 (95% CI 3.72 ‐ 4.71; scale 1 ‐ 7) as well as perceived severity of contracting the novel coronavirus with a mean score of 4.17 (95% CI 3.73 ‐ 4.62; scale 1 ‐ 7).
It appears that the higher the age, the higher is the perceived probability, susceptibility, and severity of contracting the coronavirus infection. This finding is consistent with CDC’s, 2020 findings as well as that of Gesser‐Edelsburg A, 2020:8 who indicates that because of the severity of their sickness, older adults are the most vulnerable.
“Higher risk perceptions” were fundamentally connected with preventive health practices including washing hands, donning masks, and practicing social distancing (Sarah Dryhurst, 2020 as cited in Ro, 2020). It may mean therefore that overall; the respondents have a moderate response towards the health protocols of the pandemic. However, males, those with children as well as 51‐65 years old age bracket have slightly better health behavior towards COVID‐19. On the other hand, males, college graduates, as well as those living alone have fair health behavior towards COVID‐19.
Knowledge of COVID‐19:
93.48% of the respondents answered correctly that there is at present no treatment or vaccine2 for Covid‐19. While 91.3% correctly answered the question about maximum incubation period3 of the novel coronavirus. The same is true with symptoms of the coronavirus, 97.83% answered fever and shortness of breath. While 95.65% answered cough. However, 98% of the respondents fail to recognize nausea or vomiting as a symptom. The same is true for congestion or runny nose at 61%. Another is fatigue at 35%, muscle or body aches at 26%, headache, and diarrhea at 22%, new aversion to a particular flavor or odor at 20%, sore throat at 11%, fever at 2%.
Preventive Measures Taken:
The response on "I know how to defend myself against the coronavirus" is on the positive side of the Likert scale, with a mean score of 5.65 (95% CI 5.36 – 5.94: scale 1 ‐ 7). This is also the same with the responses on preventive measures taken, especially ‘wearing a face mask’ which registered 100%. Fears and Worries About COVID‐19:
Worry and fear are more significant than responses to the government’s trust and perceived vulnerability.
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