Alleged US warning on Luzon lockdown looting is fake: NBI

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2020 10:16 AM

Residents of a depressed community in Barangay Paligsahan, Quezon City receive relief goods from the village officers on March 19, 2020. Local officials in the barangay level are dipping in to their calamity funds to provide relief assistance during a lockdown of the entire Luzon to contain the spread of COVID-19. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation on Friday refuted a supposed US warning on potential looting incidents in Luzon during its month-long lockdown to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

A text message that recently made rounds claimed that the Philippines was vulnerable to looting because the average Filipino family only had a week’s worth of savings. The message cited a supposed study by the US State Department. 

"No such study exists," said NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor, who quoted information from his agency's US counterpart. 

The Philippine National Police earlier Friday said the supposed US study on looting was unverified and false. 

Officers were also dispatched to areas where social media users claimed there were incidents of looting and found no such crimes there, said PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac. 
 
"Nababahala ang PNP dahil sa mga netizens natin na hindi alam kung papaano aliwin ang mga sarili, napagdidiskitahan ang social media na magpakalat ng impormasyon na 'di naman beripikado at wala namang katotohanan," the official told DZMM. 

"Huwag po tayo ang maging dahilan para magkaroon ng pangamba ang ating publiko," he added. 

(The PNP is concerned that netizens do not know how to entertain themselves and spread unverified and false information on social media. Let us not cause public worry.) 

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed all households in Luzon under home quarantine until April 12 to arrest the spread of COVID-19. 

The Philippines as of Thursday confirmed 217 cases of the respiratory disease, including 17 deaths and 8 patients who recovered. 

With a report from Niko Baua, ABS-CBN News