What is a ‘tsismosa brigade’ and what does it have to do with COVID-19?

Brig. Gen. Albert Ferro, Central Visayas police director, quipped that “tsismosas” or rumormongers could be included in their initiative to boost the contract tracing efforts in Cebu. However, this statement received messages of concern on information credibility and confidentiality.

Ferro jokingly said that he heard about a “tsismosa brigade” allegedly in Bulacan. He then thought that those individuals could be used to help in contact tracing.

“I heard a story last night about this ‘tsismosa brigade.’ They could be a good source of (information). I think it was in Bulacan. It was said the help of these ‘tsismosas’  is being sought for contact tracing. So maybe, instead of rumormongering, they can do something to help,” Ferro bantered.

Photo for illustration purposes only. Photo from pixabay.com.

In addition to this, the police director emphasized that the fight against COVID-19 should be a community effort and not just of the police officers or the government.

“This health emergency crisis is not only a job or responsibility of the police, of the military, or the local government. This is the responsibility of every single Sugbuanon, Boholano, Ilonggo, Ilocano, Bisaya, and all the Filipino citizens,” he said.

According to a report from the Department of Health (DOH), Central Visayas is the second region that has the most number of active COVID-19 cases as of July 20.

With the ongoing fight against this health crisis, this isn’t the first time that a “tsismosa brigade” was thought of as a solution in boosting contact tracing efforts.

In Nueva Vizcaya, community doctor Anthony Cortez allegedly tapped on people “known to keep an eye on the neighbors.” These locals are believed to monitor new arrivals in the town of Bambang and quarantine them for possible COVID-19 symptoms. They would provide details to the village chiefs, who would then report it to Cortez and then send nurses for a follow-up. He was reported to be “careful” in terms of verifying the information provided to him.

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