"Very Disturbing": Hontiveros calls out Cebu poet's arrest for Fake News

"Very Disturbing": Hontiveros calls out Cebu poet's arrest for Fake News

Opposition senator Risa Hontiveros is calling out the Duterte administration to focus all its energy in addressing the novel coronavirus 2019 disease or COVID-19 pandemic instead of “restricting liberties.”

In an teleconference with different reporters, Hontiveros finds it disturbing that the Dakila Collective member had to be arrested last April 19 while the country is in the midst of battling COVID-19.

“Very, very disturbing po talaga ‘yung nangyari diyan sa isang kasapi ng Dakila Collective na naging partner din namin sa maraming women legislation. Ito nga ‘yung ikinababahala ko rin nung ini-interpellate namin ‘yung emergency powers bill noon,” she said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros
(photo credit to owner)

Hontiveros is referring to the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which because of the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 President Rodrigo Duterte was given extra powers to address the problem.

(What happened to a member of the Dakila Collective, which we have previously partnered-up with for several women legislations, is very, very disturbing. This is what I was concerned about when we were interpellating the emergency powers bill before).

“May kasama siyang so-called ‘fake news’ provision na ngayon ay ginagamit hindi laban sa totoong kalaban natin na ang COVID-19 pero ginagamit pati sa mga citizen journalists and mga social media netizens na nagbibigay ng kanilang constructive criticism at mga suhestiyon kung papano natin tamang maiimplementa ang quarantine o ang mass testing,” she added.

(The law had a so-called ‘fake news’ provision, which is now being used not to fight our true enemy, COVID-19, but is being used against citizen journalists and social media netizens who are just giving constructive criticism and suggestions on how we can better implement the quarantine or mass testing).

Section 6(f) of the said law punishes “(i)ndividuals or groups creating, perpetuating, or spreading false information regarding the (COVID-19) crisis on social media and other platforms, such information having no valid or beneficial effect on the population, and are clearly geared to promote chaos, panic, anarchy, fear, or confusion.

Individuals “participating in cyber incidents that make use or take advantage of the current crisis situation to prey on the public through scams, phishing, fraudulent emails, or other similar acts” are also penalized under the said provision.

“Dapat mag-concentrate ang gobyerno sa paglaban sa COVID-19 at hindi sa pagpigil sa mga civil liberties,” Hontiveros went on.

(The government should concentrate on fighting COVID-19 instead of restricting civil liberties).

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Report from PDI

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