PB passes ‘Anti-fake news ordinance on coronavirus’

By: Rosalie O. Abatayo February 10,2020 - 06:24 PM

The Provincial Board has passed today, February 10, 2020 the ordinance against the spreading of fake news about the 2019 novel coronavirus. | Rosalie O. Abatayo

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  Check your source first before sharing information, especially regarding the 2019 novel coronavirus, on social media.

Anyone found to be guilty of spreading false information regarding the viral infection either online or through text messages, may face up to one year of jail time and be fined of up to P5,000.

These penalties are stipulated in the ordinance unanimously passed by the Cebu Provincial Board this afternoon, February 10, 2020.

“The spreading of false information creates panic among the public. That is why we really need to impose the penalties,” said Fourth District Board Member Kerrie Keane Shimura in an interview. 

Shimura, who chairs the PB’s Committee on Health and Social Services, authored the resolution.

Read more: Penalties, jail time vs netizens who spread fake news on 2019-nCoV readied

Lawyer Russel Pernites, Shimura’s consultant, said anyone who would spot “fake news” on social media or through text messages could submit a complaint before the Provincial Legal Office (PLO).

Since the spread of false information regarding the 2019-nCoV is a violation of a provincial ordinance, the PLO will facilitate the filing of the complaint to the Prosecutors Office in jurisdiction.

The ordinance also adopts the protocols against the 2019-nCoV set by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order Nos. 5 and 5-A.

The protocols set by the two EOs cover the guidelines of the travel ban and quarantine of repatriated Filipinos and people carrying valid permanent residence visa.

Read more: Gov. Gwen signs executive order laying down the guidelines for home quarantine

Dishonesty in filling out health declaration forms upon arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will also be a ground for penalties.

All passengers arriving via international flights in MCIA are compelled to file their health declaration especially their travel history.

Foreign nationals, who have been to China, Hong Kong and Macau, even only due to a connecting flight, are covered in the travel ban imposed by the national government.

Filipino citizens and permanent residents who have recent travel history or connecting flights in China, Macau and Hong Kong, meanwhile, will be subjected to mandatory quarantine.

Those, who “lied” in their health declaration cards, upon verification by the Bureau of Immigration, are also imposed the same penalty as those spreading fake news, Shimura said./dbs

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TAGS: coronavirus, fake news, Kerrie, ordinance, PB, Provincial Board, Shimura

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