MANILA - A Marikina barangay chairman is facing charges for allegedly releasing false information that a resident was infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in his area, causing panic.
In a statement Thursday, the Marikina City government said Barangay Tumana chairman Ziffred Ancheta "erroneously" announced in a Facebook live video that a resident in the area had contracted the disease.
"However, such erroneous information given by the barangay chairman was immediately debunked by the Marikina City Health Office (CHO), and the Rescue 161," it said.
City health officer Alberto Herrera said the resident, a security guard working in virus-hit Greenhills, San Juan, was just a person under investigation (PUI) and has not tested positive for the virus.
Herrera stressed that under the COVID-19 Policy and Protocol provided in the Data Privacy Act, any information about a coronavirus patient should not be disclosed, and that only the Department of Health (DOH) can release information on confirmed cases.
"DOH should be the one to inform the concerned local government unit, CHO, and its City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU), to conduct the health intervention such as contact tracing, monitoring of the members and relatives [with contact with] the positive patient within 48 to 72 hours, disinfection activity and other health preventive and control measures," the local government added.
Marikina Mayor Marcy Teodoro appealed to the public to be responsible in sharing information on social media.
“This is not the time for panic. During these trying times, we must come together as one family to help each other,” he stressed.
The Greenhills area, where the PUI worked before the Philippines implemented strict travel restrictions in Luzon, has recorded at least 2 COVID-19 cases this month.--with a report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News