Illustration by Alan Berry Rhys

A town in the Philippines is taking a stand against gossip. Several neighborhoods in the town of Binalonan have made it illegal to spread what Filipinos call chismis—rumors about things such as finances and personal relationships. 

In the Philippines, many neighborhoods have their own governments, whose representatives often have to deal with drama among residents. Binalonan officials say the ban will free up their time so they can focus on more urgent issues. People who break the rule will have to do community service and pay a fine.