Palace denies total lockdown rumors; fake news peddlers face arrest

Published March 27, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang reassured the public on Friday that the enhanced community quarantine currently implemented in the entire Luzon will stay as is, allaying reports of a total lockdown nationwide for the next two weeks.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo gave the assurance as he warned creators of fake news that they will answer to the law, saying what they are doing only causes panic and apprehension by making the people believe that a total lockdown will be implemented.

“Another idle and wild talk of a total lockdown unleashed by the usual rumor mongers is flying high in the social media and being spread by word of mouth by the gullible and those who should know better,” he said.

“We warn those creating or propagating false news or untrue information designed to create panic, confusion, and fear among the population that they will be forthwith arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.

Panelo renewed the Palace’s appeal to the public not to believe anything they see on social media as he reassured them the enhanced community quarantine being implemented in Luzon will stay as is.

“We appeal to our countrymen not to believe – or to ignore – anything that comes to your knowledge that is contrary to the official announcements of the Office of the President relative to the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

“The present enhanced community quarantine or partial lockdown in Luzon will remain with the same established protocols and guidelines in place, with all the aforementioned business enterprises remaining accessible, and the delivery of food and agricultural products unhampered,” he added.

The Palace official explained that the spread of unverified information only creates widespread fear and triggers panic-buying. He cited as an example the fake news that circulated two weeks ago about a lockdown where all establishments, including supermarkets, groceries, wet markets, drug stores, banks, and food chains, would be closed and that the deliveries of food supply and agricultural products would be prohibited.

“Contrary to the expectations of the general public, what was declared was an enhanced community quarantine or a partial lockdown with the aforesaid establishments remaining open and delivery of food supplies and agricultural products unimpeded,” he said.

“Lest the general public take this rumored government action as true, the Palace wishes to inform the citizenry and to stress that such circulating information is absolutely false,” he added.