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32 charged for fake news amid COVID pandemic

PNP sealThe Philippine National Police said yesterday that it has arrested 32 persons across the country for allegedly posting false information on social media amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

PNP spokesman Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said that 24 of these cases were initiated as a result of the operation of the PNP-Anti-Cybercrime Group while the rest were conducted by local police offices and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.

Banac warned the public against spreading fake news in the time of COVID-19.

“Again, we ask the public against spreading false information, unverified reports and other forms of disinformation that may affect overall unified response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Banac.

Banac said the suspects were charged for violating Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances under Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code as Amended in relation to Sec 4c4 (Online Libel) and Section 6 of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Law.

“We will be relentless in taking countermeasures on misinformation and spread of fake reports by conducting cyber patrol operations on social media and other online platforms,” said Banac.

Instead of sharing fake news, Banac said the people should cooperate in taking greater steps to defeat the COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force Corona Virus Shield vowed to protect health workers from harassment or attacks.

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, JTF CoViD Shield commander, said that his troops are on round-the-clock alert in response to President Duterte’s order to protect medical frontliners and other persons infected by COVID-19.

At least two health workers in Cebu and Cotabato have been harassed.

The task force hotline numbers are 0998-849-0013 for Smart users and 0917-538-2495 for Globe users. The JTF CoViD Shield can also be reached through its email address [email protected]

Based on the JTF CoViD Shield, 1,535 and inquiries have been made at its hotline numbers since the enhanced community quarantine measures were enforced in Metro Manila and throughout Luzon. (Aaron Recuenco)


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