Police urge Filipinos to stop sharing fake crime news on social media

The Philippine National Police (PNP) yesterday urged the public to refrain from sharing fake news on social media after some netizens reported unverified posts regarding burglary incidents that supposedly happened in various areas in Metro Manila.

In a statement, PNP Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said more mobile patrol units in various commercial and residential areas were deployed “to prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the ongoing national emergency situation.”

He added that they have yet to receive validated reports of crime incidents in the National Capital Region since the Luzon-wide lockdown began, but they are nonetheless on alert to prevent them from happening.

“[But] 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.

“At the same time, 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 they are now trying to trace the origin of “hoax” reports that robberies purportedly occurred in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, and Binondo, Manila. Another apparent fake news item claimed an incident of “public unrest” took place in San Andres, Manila. The unsubstantiated reports claimed the incidents took place because people were getting hungry after many were forced to stop working because of the lockdown.

“Our laws provide stiff penalties for persons who will propagate false reports, especially if committed during a period of national emergency,” Gamboa warned the online fabulists.

“Rest assured police and military security forces [are] on top of the situation and ready to respond to any calls for assistance from the public.”

The bogus posts came after President Rodrigo Duterte this week placed all of Luzon on lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, shutting down workplaces and public transportation, and disrupting the lives of at least 54 million Filipinos.

This article, Police urge Filipinos to stop sharing fake crime news on social media, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!