Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra asked the public to stop spreading rumors that there would be a holiday lockdown this Christmas season.
“I advise netizens to just wait for statements from official sources rather than pass the rumor around. The more the rumor circulates, the faster it assumes the illusion of truth,” he said in a statement to the media Tuesday.
Several reports have circulated on social media about a possible lockdown from December 23 this year to January 3, 2021.
Government officials have denied such holiday lockdown, with Guevarra saying, “that was obviously fake news.”
The justice secretary added he would not ask the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the people behind the holiday lockdown rumors for now, unless there is evidence that the misinformation is deliberate.
“For as long as the government could quash all of these false information through the usual communication channels, I will reserve the resources of the NBI for more urgent and critical investigations,” he said.
“However, if there are signs that misinformation about the COVID-19 situation are deliberate and coordinated to create public unrest or sabotage the economy, I will immediately deploy the NBI to intervene and find out who are perpetrating this malicious misinformation,” he added.
Holiday lockdown fake news
National Task Force against COVID-19’s spokesperson also warned the public against believing in unverified reports about COVID-19.
“Everyone is strongly advised not to believe news or information coming from unverified sources. Please ensure you verify or ask authorities or trusted organizations about the veracity of such information before believing and passing it around. Let us not be instruments of fake news distribution and help our fellow kababayans,” said NTF Spokesperson, retired Gen. Restituto Padilla.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela City also warned against similar fake news, saying a holiday lockdown would be imposed in the city from December 19 to January 1. Its local government said the city was still under GCQ.
“FAKE NEWS ALERT! Wala pong katotohanan ang kumakalat na balita na may magaganap na lockdown sa ating lungsod. Ang Valenzuela City ay nasa ilalim pa rin ng GCQ. Huwag basta-basta maniwala sa chismis ng kapitbahay o sa mga forwarded messages. Iba-iba na pong version ang nakarating sa aming tanggapan,” it said in a Facebook post.