Provincial Board Member Kerrie Shimura the chairperson on the Committee of Health and Social Services, said that the ordinance is in line with the recently signed Executive Order 5 and 5-A series of 2020 by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
Joy Torrejos
Cebu now punishes peddlers of fake news on coronavirus
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - February 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Purveyors of fake news about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Acute Respiratory Disease may now face jail time.

Yesterday, February 10, the Cebu Provincial Board passed on first, second and third reading an ordinance penalizing people who spread false information on social media and via text about the 2019-nCoV ADR.

The ordinance was certified urgent by the Office of the Governor.

Penalties include fine of up to P5,000 and jail time of not more than one year.

Provincial Board Member Kerrie Shimura (4th district), the chairperson on the Committee of Health and Social Services, said that the ordinance is in line with the recently signed Executive Order 5 and 5-A series of 2020 by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.

“Maka-create man gud siya og panic. Maong ako nalang gibutangan ug penalties aron naa gyu'y unod atong ordinance,” she said.

“Ato lang gisumpayan og kaning sa fake news ug sa misdeclaration sa health cards. Atong penalties ani naka-(anchor) ra gihapon sa Local Government Code,” she added.

Residents who see any social media posts containing fake news or receive text messages on the 2019-nCoV are advised to forward their complaints to the Provincial Legal Office.

"Any private citizen can be a complainant, ipaagi nato sa provincial legal office,” said Atty. Russel Pernites, Shimura's legal consultant.

Along with the creation and spreading of fake news, the ordinance also prohibits the misdeclaration of information in the Health Declaration Cards passengers are required to fill in.

Section 16 states: “Making false declarations, deliberate and willful non-declaration or non-disclosure of facts as required in the Health Card provided by the Bureau of Immigration."

Shimura explained that the information, specifically on whether or not passengers have been in China, Macau or Hong Kong in the past 14 days, filled in by passengers, will be counterchecked by the Bureau of Immigration upon checking passports.

The same penalties for fake news also apply for any falsification in the health cards.

As for local government officials, officers and employees in violation of the protocols provided by the preceding EOs, they will be facing administrative disciplinary action. This will come in the form of civil or criminal action allowed by the Local Government Code.

To recall, EO 5 lays down the protocols on the travel ban along with the protocols on the hybrid quarantine system.

This system gives Filipino and permanent visa holders from China, Macau or Hong Kong or any country but have been in the enumerated states for the past 14 weeks, the option to choose home quarantine or facility quarantine.

EO 5-A contains the protocol for seaports on both passenger and cargo vessels.

Both are preventive EOs in response to the confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV ARD. (FREEMAN)

2019 NOVEL CORONAVIRUS ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISEASE
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