3 netizens face raps for tagging Covid-19 patient in Facebook

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The Pangasinan Police Provincial Office (PPPO) is set to file cases against three persons who posted photos in Facebook of a person they claimed to be afflicted with Covid-19.

Photo shows PPPO director Redrico Maranan (left) and Provincial Health Office chief Anna Ma. Teresa De Guzman during the emergency meeting on Monday, March 9. (Photo courtesy of provincial government of Pangasinan)

In a forum hosted by the provincial government of Pangasinan on Tuesday, March 10, PPPO director Redrico Maranan said the two of the three purveyors are females from Lingayen town, while the police are still investigating the identity of the third person.

“They have posted photos claiming that it is the reunion photo of the Australia-based Filipino who tested positive for Covid-19 and her classmates, and an alleged leaked list of the persons who attended the class reunion with them here in Pangasinan,” he said.

Maranan said they may be liable for violating Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Law and the Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act.

He added those who shared the unverified and malicious information could also be liable as the person who originally posted it. Violation of these laws is punishable by five-year imprisonment and fines from P500,000 to P1 million, he said.

“Sharing photos or documents that are unverified is not helpful. Instead, it even adds to confusion and causes unnecessary attention and panic,” Maranan said.

The provincial government of Pangasinan on Tuesday appealed to the public through a Facebook post to delete immediately and refrain from forwarding such photos.

In the same forum, Provincial Health Office chief Anna Ma. Teresa De Guzman said people should instead show compassion and be responsible by helping other people learn how to prevent the Covid-19.

She assured the public that the provincial government and the Department of Health, together with the police, are conducting contact-tracing on the people the Australia-based Filipina had close contact with during her visit in the province.

“We are almost 50-80 percent done with our contact tracing and so far, none of them are showing symptoms of the virus,” she added. –– Hilda Austria (PNA)

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