Eye doctor to face raps over fake info on COVID-19
Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - February 17, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Authorities are set to file a case against the person who allegedly spread false information about a foreigner who supposedly died from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a hospital in Cebu.

Colonel Marlo Castillo, chief of the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit in Central Visayas, said they have traced and spoken to the man who shared the false information online.

The man, an optometrist, will reportedly face the charges.

"Sinabi naman nya na haharapin nya (He said he will face them)," Castillo said.

Castillo refused to reveal the name of the doctor and did not provide additional information about him.

Castillo said they had to send a team to the hospital after a concerned citizen called the unit and inquired about the supposed death.

The hospital, the University of Cebu Medical Center, also had to issue a statement denying that a person under investigation for COVID-19 was admitted to the hospital.

Castillo said they will file the case against the optometrist once they receive the formal complaint from UC Med.

The optometrist is facing charges for violating the cybercrime law.

Castillo said the filing of the case should be an example for the public to refrain from spreading incorrect or unverified information.

He called on the public not to share unverified information that can cause panic and, in the case of COVID-19, to listen only to advisories from national agencies concerned to avoid confusion.

Castillo said they will intensify cyber patrolling.

"We will not take that very lightly… unang-una, nakakabahala ito… we urge the public again to refrain… ang gusto lang natin i-suggest sa kanila na mapagmatyag tayo sa advisory ng DOH kasi sila yung authorized na magbigay (We will not take that very lightly… firstly, this is disturbing… we urge the public to refrain… we suggest that they monitor DOH because they are the ones authorized to give information)," Castillo said. (FREEMAN)

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