Isko warns vs rise of ‘political virus’

Isko Moreno
Mayor Isko Moreno Photo by JERRY S. TAN

MANILA Mayor Isko Moreno has called on the public to be more discerning as he warned that in the wake of COVID-19, another virus called, ‘poli-virus,’ short for ‘political virus’ is also on the rise, courtesy of some selfish politicians who  take advantage of the situation to spread fake news or false information aimed at undermining the efforts of their political foes.

Moreno also appealed to those on social media to be responsible when posting or reposting, stressing that while the city government acts on legitimate complaints aired on social media, he will also not hesitate to run after those who waste the efforts of city officials by posting fake news and thus make it appear that Manilans totally have no discipline.

He cited a video of the old, overcrowded Divisoria posted in such a way to make it appear that the video was taken just the other day and which was reposted by some netizens, surprisingly including two ranking government officials namely Albay Rep. Joey Salceda and foreign affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin, Jr.

“Mga kababayan naman,  pag di naman totoo, ‘wag na natin i-post o repost kasi di po nakakatulong. Kasi kami,  tumutugon dahil ang paniwala ko tapat kayo at ang intensyon ninyo ay maganda. Bising-bisi po yung nag-post. ‘Yung video na pinost ng mga indibidwal at ni-repost ng mga kilalang tao sa gobyerno, syempre ang mga taga-Maynila magre-react dahil kung taga-Binondo o taga-Tondo ka, alam mo agad fake news,” Moreno said.

The mayor added: “Sa totoo lamang,  itong video na ito,  hinahanap na ng cybercrime division ‘yung taong nag-post at nag-repost nito kung me violation sila under cybercrime law.”

He said that based on initial  information given to him, one of the sources is from the Southern part of the Philippines ‘na di ko alam ano ang  dahilan at nag-post ng video ng Maynila gayung di naman siya taga-Maynila.’

Moreno said the fake news post angered Manilans who took the initiative to belie it by posting their own pictures of how Divisoria actually looks nowadays, as he stressed that the prohibition on vendors there was consistent since he cleared it upon assumption of office.  Vendors are only allowed there at night time until 5 a.m. since it serves as the main source of basic goods and essentials that are being sold in markets in Metro Manila.

Saying the two officials have apologized for reposting the fake news, Moreno said:  “…pero humingi naman na sila ng pasensiya… ang importante bumangon sa pagkakamali…let’s move on,  but I hope this will be a fair warning.  Tayo po ay nasa krisis. Kalaban natin ay COVID di natin kailangang magturuan o magsisihan. Kahit anong gawin ng gobyerno, walang sapat na solusyon sa sitwasyon sapagkat walang masusing pag-aaral na nagawa para labanan ang isang pandemic sa panahon natin.”

Moreno lamented meanwhile that while a lot of Filipinos are truly ‘working from home’ and continue to be productive, there are others who use the internet for a different line of work, which is to smear sitting officials, unmindful of the fact that they only increase the stress, fear and anxiety already seeping into the minds of the people due to the coronavirus.

‘Sila ‘yung walang magawa sa buhay. Pindot lang sa internet, bayad na. Di baleng sirain nila ang gobyerno at ang utak ninyo para tumaas lalo ang stress nyo… dun kumikita ang ilang indibidwal. ‘Yun ang pinakakain nila sa kanilang pamilya ‘yung siraan mga gobyerno,’ Moreno sighed.

Moreno said that a certain Ronald Gunday posted a fake photo of a supposed cockfighting taking place in a barangay in Manila  and is now facing charges for violation of RA10175 or the cybercrime prevention act of 2012 and  RA1469 of the ‘Bayanihan To Heal As One Act.

According to Moreno, he will let the proper authorities take action against the purveyors of fake news, saying it is important to enforce liability to serve as a lesson so that no one will follow suit and to stop them from wasting government time and resources in responding to what turns out to be false information.

“Don’t push us to the wall. May hangganan ang lahat. Mahaba ang pasensiya ko. Ako’y magpapaliwanag, mananawagan pero me hangganan din. Mag-ingat sa mga post. Kung wala kang maitutulong ‘wag ka nang makaperwisyo pa,”he stressed.