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In Cebu, jail time awaits peddlers of fake news on coronavirus

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Purveyors of false information on coronavirus in the Philippines may now face jail time.

The Cebu Provincial Board has passed on first, second and third reading an ordinance penalizing people who spread false information on social media and via text about the coronavirus. 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.

The ordinance is in line with the recently signed Executive Order (EO) 5 and EO 5-A series of 2020 by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, said Provincial Board Member Kerrie Shimura, also the chairperson on the Committee of Health and Social Services. (https://bit.ly/39sjLIS)

Residents who see any social media posts containing false information or receive text messages on the virus are advised to forward their complaints to the Provincial Legal Office.

The measure 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.”

Meanwhile, local government officials, officers and employees violating the protocols provided by the preceding EOs will face administrative disciplinary action in the form of civil or criminal action allowed by the Local Government Code.

EO 5 lays down the protocols on the travel ban along with the protocols on the hybrid quarantine system, while EO 5-A contains the protocol for seaports on both passenger and cargo vessels.