PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) Chief Archie Francisco Gamboa said reports on social media about robberies and burglaries in some parts of Metro Manila are not true.
Nonetheless, he said the PNP will deploy additional mobile patrol units in the vicinity of commercial centers in Metro Manila for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
“We appeal to our people to refrain from sharing unvalidated social media reports of alleged incidents that only add to public apprehensions and fear,” Gamboa said.
The PNP chief said they are now looking for the source of the fake news.
“The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group is now tracing the authors behind the circulation of fake news in social media of a purported burglary and robbery in McKinley Hill, Taguig City and Binondo, Manila; and of alleged public unrest in San Andres, Manila all of which were both found to be hoax reports,” he said.
Gamboa assured that authorities are taking stricter measures to prevent crime.
“Our laws provide stiff penalties for persons who will propagate false reports, especially if committed during a period of national emergency,” he said.
“Rest assured police and military security forces and on top of the situation and ready to respond to any calls for assistance from the public,” he added.
Under Republic Act (RA) 10951, individuals who spread fake news face the penalty of arresto mayor or imprisonment of one month and a day to six months, and a fine ranging from P40,000 to P200,000.
“The reality is that over the past five days since community quarantine was enforced in Metro Manila and recently enhanced over the rest of Luzon, crime incidents have significantly decreased,” Gamboa said.
“Local police units are instructed to coordinate closely with security managers of commercial centers and vital facilities, and leaders and barangay authorities of residential communities to establish neighborhood watch systems that will alert police and residents of possible security situations,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila on general community quarantine on March 15 and imposed stricter measures covering the entire Luzon on March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
The country has been placed under a state of public health emergency and state of calamity to allow government to tap calamity and quick response funds in efforts to combat the pandemic. (SunStar Philippines)