Philippine Government to run after fake news peddlers as Presidential Communications Operations Office intensifies info campaign

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar presided over the Laging Handa press briefing on the updates of the status of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the country. Among the speakers were Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella, and Health Undersecretary Dr. Gerardo Bayugo. (PCOO Photo)

Manila — The government does not see any problem moving forward with the repatriation and quarantine measures of Overseas Filipino Workers who were brought to the Philippines from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), on Sunday, February 9. It however says, the proliferation of fake news is a challenge.

During a press briefing on Monday, February 10, Interior and Local Government Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya warned that they will go after the fabricators of misinformation and propagators of disinformation

“Tingin ko na kailangan nating aksyunan ng mabigat is yung fake news that’s floating around (I think that we need to take stringent action against is the fake news that’s floating around),” he said as he mentioned a misleading infographic that was distributed online about a supposed DILG memorandum circular that allegedly said that there will be a mandatory quarantine for those coming from twenty other countries to the Philippines.

“We are warning those people, that Sec. Año has already directed CIDG to investigate kung sinong nagpost nung infographic na yun because that’s a violation of Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code and of the Cybercrime Act as well,” he noted.

(We are warning those people, that Sec. Año has already directed CIDG to investigate who posted that infographic because that’s a violation of article 154, of the Revised Penal Code and of the Cybercrime Act as well)

“We will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law because what they are doing is creating panic and creating unnecessary threats to the public order and safety,” Malaya added.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar assured that the government media will continue to give on-time and regular updates to ensure the Filipinos stay safe and informed.

Andanar said that PCOO and its attached agencies are working non-stop to provide media support.

“The PCOO, the lead communications arm of the government which has been at the forefront in delivering timely, accurate, and reliable information about the 2019-nCoV-ARD to the public, has been working round the clock and coordinating with the DFA, the DOH, and other agencies of the government to provide media support to the event,” he said.

Capas residents have nothing to worry about

According to Usec. Malaya, none of the first batches of repatriated OFWs from China have shown any symptoms of the 2019-nCoV, though they are now quarantined at the Athletes’ Village in New Clark City in Tarlac as a precautionary measure.

He also reiterated that the people of Capas have nothing to worry about, as the OFWs have not exhibited any symptoms, and if they do, they would be brought to the isolation ward immediately.

“Secretary Año assures the municipality of Capas, Tarlac that strict procedures are in place to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus. The quarantine area is secured 24/7,” he said.

Immediate financial assistance for repatriated OFWs

Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is ready with its reintegration program for OFWs who will come home from China, Hong Kong, Macau, and probably Japan. This includes immediate financial assistance and livelihood assistance.

“Minimum financial assistance namin ay P20,000. Hindi ‘yan pautang, bigay ‘yan. That can go as high as P1 million depende sa negosyong gustong simulan ng OFW. ‘Yan naman, 0% interest loan (Our minimum financial assistance is ₱20,000. That is not a loan, we will give it to them. That can go as high as ₱1 million depending on the type of business that the OFW wants to start. For that one, it is a 0% interest loan),” Secretary Bello said.

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