Heightened alert on fake news

Published January 8, 2022, 5:16 PM

by Edgard Hilario

The ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, the post calamitous Odette recovery effort and the unstoppable heat of the incoming elections are now favorite playground for fake news and misinformation.

There is no let up for as far as unscrupulous people are concerned – – fake news peddling is still the name of the game.

Just recently, Manila Bulletin reported that Malacanang has asked the public to stop spreading fake news about the government’s Covid 19 response, stressing the practice is not helping and simply causes undue panic.


Manila Bulletin also reported in a separate article that even before the candidates filed their certificates of candicacy, fake news to cast doubt on their intention to run for office had already been going around social media. Photos and videos casting doubt or attacks on a candidate’s character is flooding social media.

The Anti-Fake News Act 2017 defines fake news as the malicious creation and distribution of false information. And the campaign against fake news remain strong.

Yet, more fake news still find their way into the social media. a few we found from social media:

Take the case of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who was first to announce his plan to run for president last September, raised concerns about fake news when a text message presidential survey was conducted during the same month.

According to a Manila Bulletin report, Lacson was left out of the poll. The spokesperson of Lacson’s Partido Reporma Ashley Acedillo said the “survey” seemed to be part of a “mind-conditioning” scheme to make people believe that Lacson will not run.

In November, Lacson highlighted that fake news and vote-buying will be the top threats for the May 2022 elections.

Before the end of 2021, Cabinet Secretary and Acting Spokesperson Karlo Nogales found the need to strongly advise Filipinos living on the path of typhoon “Odette” to only get their weather news from reliable sources.

Yet, a few fake news still found their way into the social media.

And then there’s Vice President Leni Robredo debunking an apparent fake news going around about her intention to add two more years in senior high school if she wins the presidency next year.

The aspiring President laughed off the information that reached her through a text message during a Facebook live, but took the opportunity to address it and clarify the apparent misinformation.

Fake news

And more recently, it took actress Gretchen Barretto to call out the fake news that involving Pitmaster Foundation chairman, Charlie ‘Atong’ Ang who was allegedly quoted in a photo as saying ” that placing bets on online sabong is much better than staking voters’ future to presidential frontrunner Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

“Hindi nakikialam sa pulitika si Ang,” said Barreto, who has lately picked up the sports of cockfighting as a hobby.

Fake news and misinformation are not only bad for business, politics and the country’s struggle to survive one calamity after another.

They are very dangerous as it seems some fake news are being believed, and that is truly alarming especially in these very trying times.

Fight fire with fire. Raise the alert level against fake news and misinformation. Call them out as soon as they appear in social media.

The battle versus the fakes is expected to heat up in the coming days. Be aware. Be fully informed.