August 31, 2022

The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) reiterated that there have been no kidnapping and rampant robbery cases in the city.

DCPO chief PCol. Alberto Lupaz, during the Madayaw Davao program aired through the Davao City Disaster Radio on Wednesday, said reports of abductions and rampant robberies in the city that spread on social media are false.

Lupaz said false kidnapping reports were perpetrated by “careless citizens” who shared unvalidated Facebook posts of allegedly missing persons.

“Ang mga tao pud mu-post pud ‘nya magsumpay-sumpay pud og comment na kidnap. (People are quick to add their comments about the alleged kidnapping),” Lupaz said.

Lupaz said all of these reports, upon verification by the DCPO, were fabricated.

He said one prolific case that trended on social media was only a runaway incident stemming from a family matter, but was picked up and sensationalized by netizens who made erroneous assumptions.

Meanwhile, Police regional spokesperson Major Eudisan Gultiano, during the AFP-PNP press corps media forum the same day, said fabrication of criminal reports and its online propagation are felonies under Article 154 of the Revised Penal Code or the Unlawful Use of Means of Publication and Unlawful Utterances.

Gultiano said the regional police’s cybercrime unit is actively cracking down people perpetrating fake online reports of robbery and kidnapping incidents.

She said a case has already been filed against an 18-year-old student from Toril who posted a fake list of “robbery hotspots” in the city.

She added that fake news have hit not just Davao City, but also other regions. However, the city’s record of having one of the lowest crime rate in the country is especially susceptible to fabricated crime reports.

“We take fake news seriously because if it hurts the reputation of the city, more so the trust of the people. This is really unfair sa mga kapulisan natin na 24 hours nagsisilbi (serving) in all corners of the region,” Gultiano said.

“Bago tayo magpost (Before we post), make sure na validated po ang info ninyo. Because you don’t know the impact of that,” she added.

DCPO Spokesperson Major Maria Teresita Gaspan said her office is also tracking down those who spread bogus crime reports.

Gaspan said these concocted crimes can have detrimental effects to the citizenry’s confidence on the safety and security cluster which in turn can be damaging to the city police force’s morale.

This is why, she said, it is important to stop the propagation of fake news on social media by holding the perpetrators accountable.

“Magiging lesson-learned talaga ito (This will really become a lesson-learned),” Gaspan said. CIO