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Will Sec. Francisco Duque III be held liable for spreading false info under BAHO Law?

Duque said earlier that the Philippines was on its ‘second wave’ but eventually took his words back.

On Thursday, Secretary of Health Francisco Duque III retracted his earlier statement that the Philippines is already experiencing the second wave of COVID-19.

Duque’s false notions garnered various comments and reactions.

Some even asked whether or not Duque should be held liable under the Republic Act 11469 or the “BAYANIHAN TO HEAL AS ONE ACT”. 

This is fake news, multiple journals have published evidence against this. The government (the DOH!!!) is peddling fake news. Does this not go against the Bayanihan (to heal as one) Act?” said netizens who were furious over his recent pronouncements.

It is noted that there is a provision under the BAHO law that penalizes “fake news” or disinformation. It is stated in section 6(f) that;

“Individuals or groups creating, perpetuating, or spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) crisis on social media and other platforms, such information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population, and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear, or confusion; and those participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the current crisis situation to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts.”

Recently, the National Bureau of Investigation launched an inquest into Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson for spreading COVID-19 related “fake news”.

Some officials are also worried about the circulation of fake news on social media and other platforms. 

“Sobrang nakakabahala, Mr President, kung ang secretary of health na mismo ang nagpapakalat ng maling information tungkol sa COVID-19,” Sen. Nancy Binay said on a virtual hearing. 

It can be remembered that the Senate authored a resolution for the “immediate resignation” of Duque that was signed by 14 senators including Nancy Binay. The senate accuses Duque of alleged “lack of leadership, negligence, (and) lack of foresight“. However, the senators’ call for the resignation of Duque was rejected by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Written by Neil

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Netizens criticize DOH Sec. Francisco Duque III for false claims on COVID-19 transmission