'Nip fake news in the bud'

·2 min read

PREVENTION of fake news starts at home and with the community.

According to Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, parents must educate their children about the dangers of spreading hoaxes on social media.

In an interview on Tuesday, August 30, 2022, Rama said the recent spate of fake news going viral on social media had alarmed the public.

He said posts of attempted kidnapping and kidnapping that coincided with the resumption of in-learning classes for public elementary and high schools created fear especially among parents.

He said different police units were forced to investigate the reports, which all turned out to be untrue.

“First and foremost, it is a household bottoms-up approach. The household should be aware not to be receiving hook, line and sinker. We will have to come up with a structure for verification whether such news is correct or not,” the mayor said.

Rama said there’s an existing law that penalizes purveyors of fake news so there’s no need for him to issue an executive order to go after them.

However, he warned that they will answer to him if they persist.

He also assured that these recent incidents will have no effect on his vision of a Singapore-like Cebu City.

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) demanded a public apology from the habal-habal driver who insisted that he witnessed a kidnapping on Natalio Bacalso Avenue last August 22.

Lieutenant Colonel Wilbert Parilla, deputy director for administration of the CCPO, said their investigators could not find any evidence to support his claims, adding that no one reported a kidnapping to the police.

“We would like to demand also for an apology so that we can make also a necessary report that will be included. That is also the requirement that has been given to us by our higher officers from the regional office,” he said.

The police official reiterated that the CCPO is serious about going after purveyors of fake news on social media, which not only alarms the public but also affects the city’s tourism.