MANILA - The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of the province of Pangasinan is demanding a "sincere public apology" from ABS-CBN over the airing of a news report of a "flesh-eating disease" in Pangasinan.
Provincial Resolution No. 126-2014, authored by SP members Antonio Sison, Clemente Arboleda Jr. and Ranjit Shahani and co-authored by all SP members, expressed indignation and anger over a late night "Bandila" news program's report on the alleged "flesh-eating disease" in Pangasinan and demanded a sincere public apology from ABS-CBN on the news report.
A copy of the resolution was forwarded to ABS-CBN News by the Office of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan secretary.
In the resolution, the provincial board scored ABS-CBN for causing alarm and anxiety for its report on two cases of alleged "flesh-eating disease" in Sta. Barbara and Villasis. Local health officials later said the two are suffering from isolated cases of psoriasis and leprosy. The Department of Health also said there is no "flesh-eating disease" in Pangasinan or anywhere in the country.
ABS-CBN Corporate Communications Spokesperson Bong Osorio reiterated the public apology aired in "Bandila" last February 27 and posted subsequently on abs-cbnNEWS.com for the unintended fear and panic caused by its report on the cases of skin diseases in two towns in Pangasinan.
"We will take the appropriate action based on the findings of the Office of the Network Ombudsman which is investigating the matter," he said.
He added: "ABS-CBN assures the people of Pangasinan that it recognizes the province's economic contributions to the country, and respects its history and cultural heritage."
The resolution said the report "hurt and severely affected the commerce and tourism industry in Pangasinan such that several local and foreign tourists have cancelled their trip and hotel reservations in the province not to mention also the big losses incurred by vegetable and fruit dealers and other businessmen in the province."
The resolution said the news report "likewise caused a dent on the reputable image of Pangasinan as a safe haven for tourists and investors."
The provincial board noted that the Psoriasis Society has expressed dismay over the news report "as its members claim that psoriasis is not a dreaded disease that must be feared by the people."
"Whereas, it is the collective sense of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan that the said television network must issue a sincere public apology and rectify the error it has caused to the province of Pangasinan by helping rebuild the tarnished image of the province," the resolution read.