IATF denies market, bank closures; extended lockdown; military takeover
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infection Diseases spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles denied on Friday social media posts that the military would take over, banks and markets would be closed, and there would be a 60-day extended lockdown.
This as he warned those spreading fake news that they could face punishment under the newly-approved Republic Act (RA) No. 11469, otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act.”
"These rumors being spread via social media platforms and being sent via messaging applications are all fake news," he said in a statement.
"I advise the public to refrain from forwarding or posting these rumors like these as they unnecessarily cause panic and fuel detrimental behavior like hoarding. It doesn't help," he added.
Nograles urged the public to verify information they receive with legitimate sources of news as well as official government social media accounts and websites.
Citing Section 6(f) of RA 11469, the official said that individuals or groups creating or spreading false information on social media and other platforms that promote chaos, anarchy, panic, fear or confusion can be penalized by two months imprisonment or a fine ranging from 10,000 to one million pesos.
Messages that circulated on social media showed that supposedly there would be a total lockdown from March 28 to April 15, which includes closure of markets, banks and all establishments.
According to the message, it came from a "VIP security in Malacanang" and that the "PSG" told them to stock food and other basic needs good for two weeks, and that Duterte reportedly approved the total lockdown nationwide.
In a separate statement, the Presidential Security Group denied such messages.
"Please be guided accordingly that the said information is false. There is no such guidance coming from the Presidential Security Group and no such approval coming from the President himself," the PSG said on its Facebook page.
It said they would further investigate the fake information as "we do not condone any malicious statement coming from our PSG Personnel."
The PSG said only the IATF has the sole authority to release official advisories and announcements pertaining to our government's fight against COVID-19.
It also urged the people to stay at home and avoid spreading unverified information. Celerina Monte/DMS