The Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG) has vowed to pursue those behind the circulation through the social media of supposed photos of theft and robbery incidents in some parts of Metro Manila due to the enhanced community which restricts residents of Luzon, including Metro Manila, to their homes.
PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde branded the photos as part of a “fake news” campaign as he sought to allay fears about the possibility of a breakdown of peace and order, including in street crimes due to the lockdown.
Gamboa said the ACG 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.”
“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,” he said in a news statement.
Even before Metro Manila and Luzon were put under enhanced quarantine, the PNP leadership, through PNP Deputy Chief for Operations Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, had already met to prepare for contingencies and anti-criminality efforts.
Among the items that were covered were food shortage, looting, mass demonstrations, deaths and attack on public officials.
Gamboa said that while they have not received validated reports of crimes incidents in Metro Manila, they have alerted all of their field units to take preemptive actions.
“The reality is that over the past five days since community quarantine was enforced in Metro Manila and recently enhanced over the rest of Luzon, crime incidents have significantly decreased,” he said.
“Local police units are instructed to coordinate closely with security managers of commercial centers and vital facilities, and leaders and barangay authorities of residential communities to establish neighborhood watch systems that will alert police and residents of possible security situations,” he added.
The PNP chief appealed to Filipinos to refrain from posting and sharing “unvalidated social-media reports of alleged incidents” since this will only add to “public apprehensions and fear.”