By Mike Crismundo
CAMP COL. RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – The police have already started investigating those who may have been involved in the spread of passenger information on a Manila-Butuan flight that the region’s first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patient took.
This was disclosed by Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) Regional Director Brig. Gen. Joselito T. Esquivel, Jr., who reported on Wednesday that the passenger information has already spread on social media.
He said the 13th Regional Anti-Cybercrime Unit (13th RACU) was already conducting cybercrime investigation to locate the source, and identify those behind the leak of the unverified information which has caused panic among the people and fear among the passengers and their families.
It can be recalled that on Monday morning (April 6), the Department of Health in Region 8 (DOH-8) confirmed the first COVID-19 case in the region was a 68-year-old male who tested positive based on results from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).
On same date, DOH Caraga released an advisory that the DOH 13 staff will contact all the passengers of a Manila-to-Butuan last March 12.
But even before the advisory could be made, a passenger list already circulated in social media.
Esquivel reminds all Caraganons that only authorized persons can post matters of health concern.
“Reposting and forwarding of information which are not processed and validated will make a person liable for being an accomplice to a crime committed,” he said.
“I assure all Caraganons that we will investigate this matter and all of you who posted and reposted adding chaos to the situation will be prosecuted,” the region’s top police official said.
“Even if you deleted it we will find a digital trail because you do not have the authority to post such information,” he said.