Cardinal Tagle: Let's put a stop to fake news

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Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) On Maundy Thursday, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle enjoined everyone to stop the spread of fake news in the country.

During his message at the Chrism Mass at the Manila Cathedral, Cardinal Tagle said communication in the country has been reduced to strategies which can manipulate the truth.

"True communication happens in the context of a covenant relationship. Manipulation thrives in the context of disrespect. That's why fake news proliferates," Tagle said.

Tagle also explained that fake news runs counter to evangelization or the sharing of good news.

"'I can deliberately deceive people because I have no covenant relationship with them. I don't care. I only want to manipulate the truth so I get what I ought.' That is not evangelization," he said.

He then reminded everyone to live with integrity, by putting thoughts into actions and good deeds instead of spreading fake news.

"Madaling magsalita, isinasabuhay ba natin? Madaling magsalita, ginagawa ba natin? " Tagle said.

[Translation: It's easy to say something, but do we stick to our word? Do we act upon the things we say?]

The Chrism Mass, a religious practice in Catholicism, is a mass held every Holy Thursday manifesting the unity of priests to their bishop. During the mass, the bishop blesses three oils used in the administration of the sacraments for the year.

A Senate panel has been looking into the spread of fake news in the country. Senator Grace Poe has filed a bill, Senate Bill 1680, which seeks to penalize public officials for peddling fake news.  Senator Joel Villanueva also filed Senate Bill 1492 which proposes to sanction false news.

"Fake news creates impression and beliefs based on false premises leading to division, misunderstanding and further exacerbating otherwise tenuous relations," Villanueva said in his proposed measure.

Poe, in her proposed law, said government officials bear the seal of being "officials" which carries a presumption of "truthfulness, reliability and accuracy."

"It is logical and necessary that government officials, particularly those charged with the duty and/or mandate to disseminate information in their respective offices, agencies and/or departments, must be subjected to higher standards of proper conduct particularly in their usage of social media and other platforms of information dissemination," she said.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.