Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto vehemently denied a fake social media card using the name and style of GMA’s News and Public Affairs Digital that claimed a whole family in Santolan, Pasig has tested “positive” for COVID-19.
The card also warned residents of the area as it claimed there is already an “outbreak” of the virus in that part of the city.
It appeared to be shared on Twitter with the following text: “Isang buong pamilya kumpirmadong infected ng CoViD-19 sa Santolan, Pasig City. Pinapayuhan lahat ng residente na mag-ingat dahil lubhang meron ng outbreak sa kanilang lugar.”
Sotto immediately labeled it as “fake news” on his Twitter page.
“ANO BA ANG NAPAPALA NG MGA GUMAGAWA NG MGA FAKE NEWS KATULAD NITONG FAKE ‘GMA’ POST NA ‘TO,” the city chief said.
Science organization Earth Shaker Philippines similarly warned the public about the false post and retweeted Sotto’s response about it.
“#FakeNews Alert!! Please don’t spread the ‘GMA News’ post about the #COVID19 infecting a family in Pasig. Just as with the virus, let us also help in stopping the spread of the deadly fake news,” the organization said.
Just as with the virus, let us also help in stopping the spread of the deadly fake news. https://t.co/qbOHUghivY
— EarthShakerPH (@earthshakerph) March 9, 2020
While the origin of the fake post cannot be determined, it made rounds on local Twitter and a social media user admitted that he nearly believed in it. He urged the public to be vigilant about sharing information related to COVID-19.
“I know it’s probably fake, but please, kung magshi-share sana ng information, paki-double check naman kung legit news or not. Muntik na kasi akong maniwala dito, eh sa kabilang baranggay lang namin ‘to eh,” the Twitter user wrote.
I know it’s probably fake, but please, kung magshi-share sana ng information, paki-double check naman kung legit news or not. Muntik na kasi akong maniwala dito, eh sa kabilang baranggay lang namin to eh. pic.twitter.com/6Kj5D2yoYr
— 𝚊𝚔𝚘𝚜𝚒𝚎𝚕𝚢𝚊𝚜 🇵🇭 (@elyasjuan) March 9, 2020
As of publication, there are only a few cases of COVID-19 listed in Pasig, either admitted in hospitals or a resident of the city.
One is an 86-year-old American male who traveled to the United States and South Korea. He was confined in The Medical City.
The other one is a 72-year-old Filipino male who did not have a travel history but was reported to experience “cough with co-morbidity.” He is admitted to The Medical City.
Sotto also said that there is Pasig resident who tested positive for the virus, although the patient is currently confined in a private hospital outside of the city.
He assured the public that the city government is closely coordinating with the Department of Health amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
They are also currently implementing precautionary measures that include contact tracing, public spaces disinfection and cancellation of public events and gatherings.
This is not the first time that Sotto debunked “fake news” concerning Pasig and COVID-19.
Last month, the mayor also denied the alleged Greenwoods resident testing positive for the virus. Greenwoods is an executive village near Ortigas Center.