DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio reminded anew Dabawenyos from sharing of fake news during a pandemic, following the circulation of some invalidated information that two establishments in the city will be temporarily closed after its employees allegedly tested positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
This came after separate online posts have been reshared and reposted by various Facebook users on Thursday evening, July 2, 2020.
According to the post, those who visited a certain mall two weeks ago until the present are advised to undergo swab testing after 32 store owners were alleged to have tested positive for Covid-19. The post also said the positive individuals were from Barangay 23-C, which is currently a "very high risk area" on the Covid-19 risk assessment map of the city government. Also, the post states that 23-C is "advised for lockdown."
The other online post, which was allegedly shared in a group chat, revealed that a certain bank located within a mall will be closed on Friday, July 3, after a security guard allegedly tested positive for Covid-19. The post claimed that the Department of Health (DOH) advised the mall to close the bank for disinfection and urged mall-goers to avoid visiting the mall.
Duterte-Carpio, when asked in a radio interview on Friday afternoon, did not confirm the information of the two viral posts.
However, she said, unless the two mentioned establishments will release an official statement, this information cannot be deemed accurate or legitimate.
On the part of the city government, the mayor, as of press time, has not received any information, but she assured that any Covid-19 information will be posted on the City Government's official social media account.
Meanwhile, she reminded the public to be cautious and validate any information they read and share online, especially anything related to Covid-19 news and events in the city.
"Dili ta basta-basta og share og information kung dili verified (let us be cautious in sharing information, especially if it is not verified). If we cannot see it sa official accounts like DOH (Department of Health) or City Government, dili nato ipasa (then, do not share it)," Duterte-Carpio said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
The city mayor emphasized the need to get the news from legit agencies, offices, or establishments, to prevent disinformation.
She, meanwhile, belied speculations that the city government is hiding any information to the public.
"The City Government will not do this to Dabawenyos because importante sa ato nga mahibalo ang mga tao sa (the public must be aware of) information [nga] timely, accurate nga maabot sa ila (that is timely and accurate), so they can properly respond and plan unsa ilang mga lihok (on their actions and decision-making)," she said.
She added, "Kanang the fact nga ginapasa-pasa nga 'ayaw'g saba, this is confidential nga information", klaro na kaayo na di siya tinuod (if it starts with 'don’t tell anyone, this is confidential,' it is quite clear that the information may not be true) because the government will not withhold information nga importante sa inyohang (that is important for your) safety and protection".
Duterte-Carpio cited the Covid-19 risk assessment map, which the government publishes weekly, for the people to refrain from going to places with highly-infected residents. The mayor, however, clarified that the map is not intended to discriminate nor prevent people from traveling from one place to another.
SunStar Davao reached out to the mall and bank mentioned in the circulating posts but they have not yet responded as of press time. Both establishments have also not released any statement on their official social media accounts.
Meanwhile, posting false information in the time of Covid-19 is punishable under Republic Act (RA) 11469 (the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act) and RA 10175 (the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012). However, the Bayanihan Act already lapsed in June and has yet to be extended by Congress in a special session of President Rodrigo Duterte's State of the Nation Address.