FAKE NEWS: Panelo ‘scolds’ the poor amid Covid-19 crisis

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. (File photo)
Malacañang slammed the proliferation of fake quotes attributed to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo amid the national government’s relentless fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“Fake news,” Panelo said in a Facebook post on April 11, 2020, reacting to a viral social media post claiming that he was lambasting the poor for complaining about the government’s Covid-19 response.

On the official Facebook account of the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson, Panelo denied that he slammed the poor people for criticizing the government’s efforts to stop the further transmission of Covid-19.

The viral post contained Panelo’s photo and used the template of online news site Inquirer.net.

Based on the fake quote, Panelo said, “Kayong mga mahihirap, wala kayong karapatang mag-reklamo, wala naman kayong ambag sa gobyerno, puro lang naman kayo umaasa sa tulong ng gobyerno. Pasalamat nga kayo at nabigyan pa kayo ng amelioration benefits galing sa gobyerno (To the poor people, you don’t have the right to complain because you have no contribution to the government and are just relying on the government’s help. Just be thankful because you are receiving amelioration benefits from the government).”

“If not for the wisdom and kindness of the Duterte administration, most of you should have been buried in the face of the earth,” the fake post quoting Panelo added.

In the original version of Inquirer.net’s post, he appealed to the public to make suggestions on how to improve the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic instead of focusing on its lapses.

Panelo’s original statement was: “Sana at this time of our crisis, ‘yun pong mga pagpuna natin sa pamahalaan eh huwag na muna tayong maging masyadong mainit doon. Kumbaga nakaraan na ‘yun at ginagawan na ng paraan. Siguro mas maganda, magbigay po tayo ng mungkahi na lang. ‘Yung nakita natin na hindi maganda na nagawa, ipasa po agad natin (let’s not focus on criticizing the government. It’s all in the past and mistakes are being corrected. It would be better to give advice to improve the government’s response to Covid-19).”

People who are propagating false news about the Covid-19 outbreak will be slapped with a two-month imprisonment or a fine of up to PHP1 million, according to Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 24.

The government continues to address the Covid-19 pandemic in the country by imposing measures aimed at arresting the spread of the disease.

One of the solutions seen as an effective way to stop the outbreak is to implement an enhanced community quarantine in the entire Luzon and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

The government also allotted PHP200 billion to help poor households cope with the crisis brought about by Covid-19.

As of Friday, the Philippines recorded 4,195 confirmed Covid-19 cases, with 221 deaths and 140 recoveries. (PNA)