Jinggoy describes as ‘disturbing’ latest survey on fake news in PH

SENATOR Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada finds as “disturbing” the results of the latest survey of polling firm Pulse Asia on the prevalence of fake news in the country which shows a high number of Filipinos acknowledging its severity.

“Misinformation and disinformation should be taken seriously. Those behind it should be held accountable for their actions. Hindi tama na hayaan nating lumaganap ang mga iresponsableng balita at impormasyon dahil ito ay magdudulot ng maling desisyon at opinion sa ating mga kababayan,” said Estrada, who is the author of Senate Bill No. 1296 proposing the criminalization of fake news dissemination in the country. 

“Bad decisions affect public interests, safety, order, and people’s lives. And bad choices stemming from false information cost money and unnecessary wastage of precious human, natural, financial, and time resources.  Hindi natin dapat hayaan ito sa panahon na may kinakaharap na krisis ang ating bayan,” Estrada stressed.

The latest Pulse Asia survey showed that 90% of adult Filipinos have read, heard, and watched fake political news, listing mass media and national-level politicians as among the leading sources of fake news about government and politics. 

Estrada said that while the Constitution guarantees free speech and press, this should not be abused. “It’s the duty of every Filipino to contribute to the development and welfare of the country, to uphold and obey the laws,” he said. 

Estrada noted the platform0s in which fake news is peddled to the public, as well as the role of social media influencers, bloggers and vloggers in the spread of disinformation in the country as shown in the survey. 

“This is the reason why we intend to establish a policy to provide our citizens with a means for their protection from online falsehood and manipulation. We hope to stop the proliferation of disinformation and misinformation on the internet by criminalizing fake news as a cybercrime,” the lawmaker said in explaining the need to enact SB 1296. 

Estrada said the Senate should conduct immediate deliberations on his proposed measure to address the widespread proliferation of false information. 

“Iba na ang panahon ngayon. With social media being the vehicle upon which fake news and false information are widely and exponentially disseminated, where people now rely on social media on a constant basis for information, news, entertainment, research, inspiration and guidance, and even for personal relationships, we cannot help but be overwhelmed by what we read and whether it’s true and credible. Hindi tama na panatilihin natin at palakihin natin ang kasalukuyang henerasyon ng mga Pilipino sa kultura ng fake news,” the senator said.