Sagay Residents Warned Vs. Making False Claims About Covid-19


Residents of Sagay City, Negros Occidental were warned against spreading fake information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) after two teenagers in the city were arrested for falsely claiming that they had been infected.

“I am warning the public not to spread false information, rumor, or even a joke that can cause undue panic and fear to the populace in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis,” Mayor Alfredo Marañon III said in a statement on Tuesday.

Initial report showed that on Tuesday, a male minor was arrested by personnel of the Sagay City Police Station and City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for making a joke about being Covid-19-positive.

On Monday, another teenager, senior high school student Argie Ligaray, 18, alias “Brando,” was apprehended by policemen after he posted on Facebook that he was showing symptoms of Covid-19, such as dry cough, difficulty breathing, and fever.

“Positive po ako. Sa sakit na Covid-19,” Ligaray said in one post.

In another post, he said, “And now I want to die.”

Maj. Antonio Benitez Jr., city police chief, said in a media interview that the social media posts of Ligaray caught the attention of the Sagay City Inter-Agency Task Force Covid-19, and the police decided to track him down.

The teenager was cited for violating Section 6 (f) of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, referring to groups or individuals who spread fake news and information on Covid-19 or take advantage of the current crisis, causing panic and chaos.

Benitez said Ligaray had attempted to escape before he was arrested in Purok Singbenco, Barangay Plaridel at about 12:30 p.m.

Ligaray, who is detained at the police station, has been checked and cleared by the City Health Office of the infection since he did not have symptoms. He also did not travel to places with positive cases of Covid-19 and had no exposure to persons suspected to have infection.

He later apologized in a video posted on Facebook, saying that he did not know what to do with his life that he decided to post something about Covid-19.

Marañon said the local health situation is already volatile and the teenager’s irresponsible post can wreak havoc on the months of hard work of the front-liners.

Sagay no longer has a record of what was previously known as persons under investigation.

As of Tuesday, it has 16 remaining persons under monitoring from the initial 3,220.

“We will not hesitate to penalize any violator of RA 11469 Section 6 (f). So think before you click,” he added. (Nanette Guadalquiver ndb)

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