ZAMBOANGA CITY: Vice Governor Sakur Tan of Sulu has reminded the public to be extra careful in dealing with text messages from unknown sources as civilians and members of the local media have been receiving messages of impending attacks by an armed group in the province.
Tan is urging those who are receiving such text messages to file a report with the police so authorities can take appropriate action to stop the proliferation of disinformation and black propaganda that tend to sow fear among the populace.
One of the text messages warned of an impending attack by gunmen on Pata Island, while another urged civilians to evacuate or leave their respective villages.
Tan noted a spike in black propaganda through text messages since politicians filed their certificates of candidacy for next year’s elections.
The propaganda, he said, include personal attacks, slander, defamation and libelous messages allegedly sent out by political opponents, detractors and other people paid by unscrupulous politicians to besmirch the good reputation of others and destroy the peace and development efforts of the government in Sulu.
Tan said police were deployed in key areas of the province to protect civilians from threats of lawless elements. Tan said civilians are helping authorities by providing information about the lawless groups.
Tan added he would ask the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to investigate and file criminal charges against those behind the disinformation and black propaganda in Sulu.
Apart from sowing fear and terror among civilians, such acts violate the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, he added.