Fake: Circulating graphic claiming NCR, nearby areas placed under GCQ with heightened restrictions

May 16, 2022 - 1:01 PM
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Image from MMDA that debunked a circulating infographic as fake news on May 13, 2022 (Facebook/MMDA)

CLAIM: A circulating infographic claimed that some parts of the country are placed under general community quarantine with heightened restrictions.

The graphic has been making rounds on private messaging platforms and social media posts since last week.

It claimed that the following areas are placed under the GCQ status with heightened restrictions from May 15 to 31:

  • Metro Manila
  • Bulacan
  • Cavite
  • Laguna
  • Rizal

This infographic circulated online days after the elections on May 9 where millions of Filipinos went outdoors to vote for the country’s next leaders.

It also came amid the Department of Health’s recent detection of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant in Metro Manila and Palawan.

RATING: The circulating graphic is fake.

Facts

Palace announced that the region remains under COVID-19 Alert Level 1 from May 16 to May 31.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority shared this announcement on its social media pages on May 16.

“Nananatili ang National Capital Region sa Alert Level 1 mula Mayo 16 hanggang May 31, base sa anunsyo ni Sec. Martin M. Andanar, Presidential Communications Secretary at Acting Presidential Spokesperson,” the traffic authority said.

In a previous post, MMDA also pointed out that the government is no longer using the community quarantine categories such as the enhanced community quarantine, modified enhanced community quarantine, and GCQ in its policies to contain COVID-19.

The claim in the circulating infographic is therefore debunked as fake.

“Ang nasabing infographic ay minanipula at ang impormasyong nakasaad dito ay peke, ayon na rin sa anunsyo ng Department of Health,” MMDA said.

“Ang pamahalaan ay hindi na rin gumagamit ng kategorya ng community quarantine dahil alert level system na ang kasalukuyang ginagamit,” it added.

The Alert Level Systems for COVID-19 Response was first implemented in Metro Manila on Sept. 16, 2021.

The Department of Health and GMA News also debunked the social media card as fake.

In its advisory on May 13, DOH likewise reminded the public that the government is no longer using the old community quarantine labels.

It also stated that there is “no escalations in Alert Levels have been announced as of this date.”

GMA News, meanwhile, said that the circulating fake social media card was their old graphic that was altered and being used to spread wrong information.

The news outlet juxtaposed its original graphic with the digitally altered copy.

The former reads: “simula May 15 hanggang May 31, 2021.”

It was changed into “simula May 15 hanggang May 31, 2022.”

GMA News also called on the public to refrain from spreading the fake graphic.

Why it matters

According to GMA News’ post, their digitally altered old graphic was being spread on social media and online chats by multiple “unscrupulous accounts.”

Based on the comments section, several Filipinos are still convinced that there is an impending lockdown to be imposed in the country even without basis.

“Ayan sinabi ko Lockdown na naman,” one Facebook user said.

“Lockdown is waving,” another Facebook user commented.

Some Filipinos are also blaming the people attending campaign rallies during the campaign season.

Last April, the DOH warned the public of a possible spike in COVID-19 cases after elections due to a 12% decline in complying with the minimum public health standards.

The national government, however, has yet to announce a surge in the number of cases and changes to the country’s alert systems so far.

The MMDA then warned the public against spreading unverified information online.

“Paalala: Alamin muna ang pinanggalingan ng impormasyon o iberipika mula sa mga lehitimong sources ang mga nababasa,” MMDA said.

This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Interaksyon is part of #FactsFirstPH, a multi-sectoral initiative promoting truth in public space and demanding accountability for falsehoods. For those interested to join the initiative, email [email protected]

Interaksyon is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 Philippine elections. It is an initiative of academe, civil society groups and media to counter disinformation and provide the public with verified information.