FAKE NEWS. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over a meeting with key government officials prior to his "Talk to the People" at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City Monday (April 11, 2022). To avoid falling for fake news, Duterte said the public should benefit from relying on trusted government officials and agencies. (Presidential photo by Arman Baylon)

MANILA – False news spreads so quickly that some people end up believing it, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte griped on Monday night as he urged the public to trust advisories that come from trusted government officials and agencies.

“With the advent of the new gadgets available in the hands of the ordinary person, he can also participate in the social order making news available or whatever there is in need for somebody or everybody to know. Ang problema kasi, itong (The problem is) false news. It can spread immediately. The problem is, may mga taong naniniwala (there are people who believe it),” he said in a prerecorded Talk to the People.

Duterte said it is difficult to control the spread of fake news, noting that this applies to both the government and the private sector.

He noted that enemies of the government, such as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), have also been among the purveyors of “lies.”.

To avoid falling for fake news, Duterte said the public should benefit from relying on trusted government officials and agencies.

He cited Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire and acting presidential spokesperson and Communications secretary Martin Andanar as among the officials authorized to speak on Covid-19 matters.

“Kung gusto ninyo malaman kung anong totoo, if it is about governance and ang trabaho namin, maghintay lang kayo. Kagaya sa a very active communicator si Undersecretary Vergeire (If you want to know the truth, if it is about governance and our work, just wait. Undersecretary Vergeire is a very active communicator),” she has appeared almost every day since the pandemic. It has been about two years plus now. Nandito si Secretary Andanar (Secretary Andanar is also here),” he said.

Duterte said he would also hold regular public addresses to inform the public of the government’s policies and current activities.

He expressed irritation over reports that there is an excess of Covid-19 vaccines in the country, reiterating that the government procured the right number of doses for the target population for inoculation.

“Huwag kayo maniwala niyan kasi yung inorder natin, para sa lahat. Tamang-tama lang sa nakararaming Pilipino (Do not believe that because the vaccines we ordered are for everyone. They’re enough for most Filipinos),” he said.

In an April 5 public address, Duterte suggested donating Covid-19 vaccines to other countries or conducting house-to-house vaccinations to prevent vaccine wastage.

He made the comment amid concerns over the 27 million Covid-19 vaccines set to expire in July.

The present estimated vaccine wastage rate in the country is 1.54 percent that is below the 10 percent indicative wastage rate used by the World Health Organization (WHO).

As of Monday, more than 66.6 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while more than 12 million have received their booster doses. (PNA)