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FALSE: Philippine gov’t to impose nationwide ECQ from December 23 to January 3

At a glance:
  • Claim: The Philippine government will impose a nationwide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) – the strictest lockdown status – from December 23, 2020, until January 3, 2021, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, and National Task Force (NTF) Against COVID-19 spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr all dismissed the rumors.
  • Why we fact checked this: This claim is spreading via text messages and on online messaging apps.
Complete details:

A false claim says the government will impose a nationwide ECQ from December 23, 2020, until January 23, 2021, to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the holidays. This rumor has been circulating via text messages and on online messaging apps since the first week of December.

This is false because government officials have refuted the claim. As of Monday, December 7, the government has not announced a nationwide lockdown during the holidays.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque dismissed the claim and called it “fake news.” Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also urged the public to “act responsibly” by not spreading false information during the pandemic.

In a message to reporters, NTF spokesperson Restituto Padilla Jr also denied the rumor. “Everyone is strongly advised not to believe news or information coming from unverified sources. Please ensure you verify or ask authorities or trusted organizations about the veracity of such information before believing and passing it around. Let us not be instruments of fake news distribution and help our fellow kababayans (countrymen),” he said.

The Philippine News Agency also refuted the rumor on Sunday, December 6, in a Facebook post.

President Rodrigo earlier placed Metro Manila, Davao City, and 6 other areas in the country under general community quarantine until the end of 2020. GCQ is the second most-relaxed lockdown status.

In April, a false claim that said Duterte would close all establishments and declare a “total lockdown” also circulated. Rappler then debunked a similar claim again when it was rehashed in July. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.