Spreading fake news about COVID-19 may cause one to be jailed or fined with Php 1,000,000.00 now that the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act has been signed by the President.
Republic Act No. 11469, which authorizes President Duterte to exercise special powers in addressing the COVID-19 crisis, encompasses punishing those that spread false information about the disease on social media and other platforms as such will endanger Filipinos by causing panic, fear, confusion or taking advantage of the situation through scams and other fraudulent activities.
Punishment awaiting those who spread fake news on COVID-19
Generally, as stated in the provisions of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, violators may be jailed for two (2) months or be fined of not less than Ten thousand pesos (₱10,000.00) but not more than One million pesos (₱1,000,000.00), or both.
Under the same law, the following will also face the same punishment if found guilty of disobeying orders from the national government:
- government officials/employees
- Owners of private hospitals
- Owners of businesses/enterprises
PNP Task Force Kontra Peke to fight the spread of fake news
To enforce the provisions of this part of the law, the Philippine National Police (PNP) created a task force to find those who spread fake news.
According to Deputy Chief for Operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, the PNP Task Force Kontra Peke will find people who spread fake news and conduct operations to fight hoarding and overpricing.
“Hahanapin po natin ‘yung mga peke [na balita], itong naglalabas nito pati operation sa isinasagawa against hoarding and overpricing,” he said in a televised briefing.
Moreover, the deputy chief for operations said that the Department of Information and Communications Technology will help in the formation of the task force.