A YouTube video is falsely claiming that the entire Luzon island is being placed under Alert Level 5 or a “total hard lockdown.”
The government has not placed any part of the country under such a strict status recently.
But amid the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases after the holiday season, the National Capital Region’s alert level status was raised from Level 2 to the third level from Jan. 3 to Jan. 15. Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal were also placed under the same status from Jan. 5 to Jan. 15.
Under Alert Level 3, intrazonal and interzonal travel is allowed but “reasonable restrictions” may be imposed by local government units. Alert Level 5, the highest, and the equivalent of enhanced community quarantine, allows movement only for accessing essential goods and services, work in these establishments, and a few other activities.
The erroneous video posted on Jan. 3 by YouTube channel Talakan TV (created in May 17, 2020) carried this false headline: “ALERT LEVEL 5, IPAPATUPAD SA BUONG LUZON! OMICRON, KUMAKALAT NA (will be implemented in the entire Luzon! Omicron now spreading)!”
The YouTube video’s content also did not support its headline. It used two separate audio clips from an hour-long People’s Television Network (PTV-4) news program aired on Aug. 13, 2021: one from a report about the changes in quarantine classifications that month, and another on a story about Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go urging local governments to speed up the distribution of financial aid to areas affected by enhanced community quarantine at the time.
The audio clips used in the circulating video had a higher pitch compared to the original PTV-4 report, suggesting the use of audio manipulation software.
Talakan TV’s false video, which has over 5,500 views as of publishing, was uploaded the same day the Department of Health tallied 4,084 new COVID-19 cases. Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega said the Omicron variant is not yet the dominant strain among local infections but may become so in the coming weeks.
The untrue post’s top traffic generator is the Facebook page DSWD AYUDA, which shared it five times in one day and garnered 2,300 interactions. DSWD AYUDA, created April 19, 2021, is an impostor page of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.