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Man who created ‘fake news’ arrested by cybercrime units

A man was arrested for allegedly spreading false information on COVID-19 in Barangay Cabantian, Buhangin, on Sunday afternoon.

Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal, the director of Police Regional Office XI, identified him as Vicente Jerona Cañonera.

The operation was conducted following the instruction of Escobal to track down persons who post unverified or fake COVID-19 information. The Regional Anti-Cyber Crime Unit XI and the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Cyber Response Team were tagged as the point agencies.

Accordingly, Cañonera posted on the Facebook pages named Deca Homeowners and Neighborhood Association, Inc and Barangay Cabantian of Davao Concern Citizen, a list of names who are allegedly positive for COVI-19 and subject for contact tracing.

He is now under the custody of the DCPO for violation of Article 154 in relation to Sec 6 of RA 10175; RA No. 11332 (Law on Reporting of Communicable Diseases), RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act and RA 11469 (Bayanihan to Heal as One Act).

“This operation should serve as a warning to everyone,” Escobal said. “Keep in mind that the PNP can track down those who make posts of unverified information that might endanger the privacy of individuals and cause panic to the public.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health-Davao Center for Health Development issued a statement dismissing the list of COVID-19 positive people who are now being tracked for contact tracing.

“The event and circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 health event have brought so much panic and anxiety due to unverified news circulating in different media outlets and social media platforms,” the statement read.

The DOH said that it has not released the identities of the patients to protect their rights to privacy and confidentiality.

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