PNP chief says robbery reports during quarantine ‘fake;’ vows more police deployment
MANILA, Philippines – Stories of robbery and burglary due to the on-going enhanced community quarantine that have been spreading on o social media appeared to be fake, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Archie Gamboa clarified on Thursday.
According to the PNP head, the police’s Anti-Cybercrime Group is now tracking the authors of the post, which showed poor people whose jobs have been affected by the quarantine allegedly attempted to steal food and money.
President Duterte placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last Monday night due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area.
“We appeal to our people to refrain from sharing unvalidated social media reports of alleged incidents that only add to public apprehensions and fear,” Gamboa said. “Our laws provide stiff penalties for persons who will propagate false reports, especially if committed during a period of national emergency.”
“The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group is now tracing the authors behind the circulation of fake news in social media of a purported burglary and robbery in McKinley Hill, Taguig City and Binondo, Manila; and of alleged public unrest in San Andres, Manila all of which were both found to be hoax reports,” he added.
However, Gamboa assured that they would be beefing up the police presence all over Luzon, which was under President Rodrigo Duterte’s enhanced quarantine order.
“The PNP will deploy more mobile patrol units for anti-criminality and police visibility operations in the vicinity of commercial centers, vital establishments and residential communities to prevent criminal elements from taking advantage of the ongoing national emergency situation,” the PNP chief explained.
He assured the public that they have not yet received such reports inside the National Capital Region and other areas in Luzon.
“Although we have not received validated reports of crime incidents in NCR and surrounding areas, we are nonetheless alerting our field units to take preemptive action,” he said.
“Rest assured police and military security forces and on top of the situation and ready to respond to any calls for assistance from the public,” he added.
As of Thursday, the Department of Health said that there are 217 confirmed cases in the Philippines, 17 of which have died. At least seven have recovered, while there are six patients who were allowed to go on a home quarantine mode.
Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson urged the government to act on concerns from workers temporarily stripped of their jobs, to avoid more economic and security problems.
Sotto said that he forwarded the reports to Malacañang to push the government to solve the issues, but officials have dismissed the reports as fake news.
The COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, whose surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces. Worldwide, over 193,000 COVID-19 cases have been recorded, 7,865 of which have died. On the other hand, another 81,743 patients have recovered.
For concerns, Gamboa said that people can contact police officers through these channels:
“For your added peace of mind, your security forces are just one call away thru the following hotline numbers:
Joint Task Force CV SHIELD Command Center, PNP Command Center
Email: [email protected]
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