This isn’t the time to joke and spread fake news.
The law that gives President Rodrigo Duterte additional powers to solve the COVID-19 crisis also contains a provision that punishes those who create or distribute false information about the crisis with a two-month prison sentence or a fine of between ₱10,000 and ₱1,000,000.
Fake news about COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly on social media, leading law enforcement agencies to crack down on some of its alleged perpetrators.
“We appeal to our countrymen not to listen to any false news or untrue information designed not only to mislead but also to create panic and anxiety,”Salvador Panelo, Presidential Spokesperson said.
Other people who will face a two-month prison sentence or a fine of between ₱10,000 and ₱1 million are online fraudsters, hoarders and price gougers.
Local government officials who disobey the policies of the national government, private hospital owners who refuse to operate under Duterte’s directive, and businesses who refuse to accept contracts for the materials and services required in the government’s response to COVID-19 are also facing the same punishment.
Over 6,700 people in the Philippines have contracted COVID-19, with 446 deaths as of the writing. A total of 693 people have already recovered from the disease.
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