Van-riding men abducting youth fake news, says PNP
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police on Monday dismissed as fake news a report circulating on social media that several youth in Metro Manila had been abducted by men in a white van.
PNP spokesperson Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac also warned those causing undue public alarm on social media that they could be charged with violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“This [report] has no basis and is not validated,” he said in a briefing, adding that if there were indeed kidnapping cases, the families of the victims should immediately coordinate with them.
“Please do not upload [on social media] immediately. Do not spread it. Instead go to the nearest police station so we can validate the information,” Banac said.
A task force formed by the Pasay police is currently investigating the disappearance of nine young people in the city in separate incidents between Nov. 20 and 22. The nine, composed of eight men and a woman, are between the ages of 15 and 23.
Due to the disappearances, the city government has ordered police and barangay officials to strictly implement the curfew hours for minors between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Banac said that reports of abductions and missing persons should not be lumped together, pointing out that the missing person might have simply eloped or ran away from home.”
“We are appealing to social media users to avoid sharing or forwarding these kinds of posts so as not to cause undue public alarm and panic. Let’s wait for the result of the investigation of a task force validating the report,” he added.
The news about the disappearances has spooked Gabrielle Abrahan, a resident of Caloocan City, who used to walk home through dark alleys instead of waiting in line for a ride for 30 to 45 minutes.
She now takes a ride home on top of arming herself with a pepper spray.
Security tighter in Caloocan
On Sunday, Caloocan Mayor Oscar Malapitan said that the city government was working closely with the police to tighten security in the city and put parent minds at ease.
Col. Noel Flores, city police chief, clarified, however, that no kidnapping incidents had been reported in the city.
He added that they were continuously patrolling and putting up checkpoints aside from implementing tighter security around schools.
Malapitan, meanwhile, also urged residents to avoid spreading rumors that could instill unnecessary fear.
Instead, he urged them to report to the police any suspicious incident or person that could be directly linked to the alleged abductions. — With a report from Meg Adonis
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