Fake news: Gov't dismisses viral voice clip on 'total lockdown'

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2020 12:09 PM

The Joint Task Force - NCR man the vicinity of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo Manila on April 10, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Government officials have dismissed rumors of an upcoming "total lockdown" after a voice clip made rounds on social media warning people about the supposed plan.

Malacañang, the Department of National Defense, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have all debunked the viral voice clip.

In the now-debunked voice clip, the voice of a woman can be heard warning people of a supposed "total lockdown."

Sought for comment, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque simply dismissed the voice clip as "fake news" on Sunday night.

In a separate statement, GMA Network disowned the voice clip after false reports claimed it was the voice of its veteran journalist Jessica Soho.

"Isang audio clip na mula umano kay Jessica Soho ang kumakalat ngayon sa mga chat group at social media. Nililinaw ng GMA News and Public Affairs na hindi si Ms. Jessica Soho ang babae na nasa audio clip. Hindi rin gumagawa ng ganoong pahayag si Ms. Soho. Nanawagan po kami sa publiko na huwag nang i-share ang voice clip, na maaaring magdala ng kalituhan sa mga tao," the TV Network said in a statement Sunday. 

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya meanwhile echoed Roque, saying President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to make a decision on the fate of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

“Wala pong ganung direktiba ang pamahalaan. Wala pa pong desisyon ang ating Pangulo sa sinasabing total lockdown na yan,” Malaya said in a virtual press briefing on Monday.

(There is no such directive from the government. Our President has yet to decide on a total lockdown.)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who also chairs the national task force on COVID-19, meanwhile explained that authorities will only "strictly implement" physical distancing measures.

"We have to do this from now up to end of April and hope that the new cases decrease and so we can slowly go back to normal," he said in a message to ABS-CBN News.

"There is no total lockdown. Essential travels are still allowed," he added.