AMID the fear of another earthquake in Mindanao, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Davao is currently investigating the perpetrators behind the false information of an impending earthquake circulating on social media using the name of their department.
“This is to inform the public that a misleading message, warning people of an impending earthquake circulating in various social media sites, did not emanate from this Office. The public is hereby advised to remain calm and to refrain from sharing the said message,” DPWH-Davao said in an issued statement through their Facebook page Tuesday, November 5.
It added, “We are now investigating the matter.”
In the post, the announcement allegedly came from DPWH Davao City District Engineering office cautioning all the employees.
“Always open all doors and prepare for possible earthquake. Phivolcs time pattern report 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and also 6.0 to 7.0 and 7.2 to 8.2 magnitude are expected to hit south Mindanao anytime. Follow disaster drill and assist POW employee. Preparedness is the key. Don’t forget to inform your loved ones and always have the means for communication,” the post read.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-Davao operations center chief Marvin Samson reminded anew the public not to immediately believe what they read on social media and refrain from sharing it without verifying the information.
The rampant false news has been their challenge whenever there are disasters. Thus, he said that the public must only rely on legitimate sources like the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).
He also clarified that there is no specific device yet that could predict the date where an earthquake may strike and the specific location.
“Pahimangno lang nako sa mga taga Davao, nga dili magpakatag ug fake news. Kung dili ta sigurado sa information, let’s keep it to ourselves. Kung naay pangutanan, email us kasi we will give you the proper and legit information nga kailangan nato nga dili ta kailangan magpanic kay panic can cause chaotic problem (Just a reminder to all Dabawenyos, please refrain from sharing unverified information. If we are not sure about the information we received, let’s keep it to ourselves. If you have questions, please contact our office),” Samson said.
The Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council cited Section 6(a) of the Republic Act 10639, also known as The Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act.
It states that “any person who gives false or misleading data or information or willfully or through gross negligence, conceals or falsifies a material fact, in any investigation, inquiry, study, or other proceeding held pursuant to this Act, shall be punished with imprisonment of not less than two (2) months but not more than six (6) months, and with a fine of not less than One thousand pesos (P1,000.00) but not more than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00): Provided, however, That if the false or misleading data or information shall have been under oath, the maximum penalty for giving false testimony or perjury shall be imposed.” (JCR)