NDRRMC’s appeal: Don’t spread misinformation on disasters

Marje Pelayo   •   October 30, 2019   •   581

A Filipino villager inspects a cracked road after an earthquake shockwaves was felt, in Digos City, Philippines, 30 October 2019. At least five people have been killed and around 70 injured, after the earthquake struck the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines — The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) has called on the public to refrain from spreading unverified information, especially regarding disasters or calamities.

This, after information such as threats of a tsunami and other misinformation spread through social media following the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that hit the town of Talunan in North Cotabato on Tuesday (October 29).

“Hindi po nakakatulong ang pagpapakalat ng mga pananakot (Spreading of messages that induce fear does not help),” noted NDRRMC Spokesperson Mark Timbal in an interview with Kuya Daniel Razon on Wednesday’s episode of UNTV’s Digital Interactive Broadcast.

“Alam po natin na ang Pilipino medyo creative minsan at gusto ring magpaabot ng babala sa mga kababayan natin para magingat pero hindi po tama na tatakutin pa natin ang mga kababayan natin,” he added.

(Filipinos can be creative sometimes in forewarning our fellowmen about disasters but it is not proper to scare them.)

Timbal mentioned that among the reported casualties in the recent earthquake died of heart attack, implying that such a sudden death could be a result of misinformation especially during times of emergencies like natural disasters.

“Makipagtulungan na lang po tayo sa ating mga local na pamahalanan para sa pagbibigay ayuda sa ating mga kababayan kesa magtakutan pa tayo (It would be better to just help the local government in extending assistance to the affected residents rather than induce fear),” the disaster official appealed.

Timbal said that so far, the agency is continuously monitoring the situation in earthquake-affected areas.

Likewise, he assured that emergency response teams are on standby to provide support to the local governments in their relief and rescue operations.

The official reminded affected residents, however, to heed to authorities especially when safety assessment procedures are ongoing.

“Kailangang i-assess pa ang mga building na nakatayo pa kung pwede pa silang gamitin o for condemnation na (It is necessary to assess the buildings if they are still safe to occupy or if they are up for condemnation),” Timbal said.

“Huwag muna tayong magpumilit na magsipasok sa mga building o mga tahanan hanggang hindi pa naki-clear na okay pa ang mga istruktura para maiwasan natin na madisgrasya tayo sa loob kung magkataon mang lumindol uli ng malakas,” he added.

(Let us not insist on getting inside a building or our house, if it is not yet declared clear and safe, to prevent further accidents should a strong aftershock happen.)

Call for food, shelter donations

Meanwhile, Mayor Arthur Davin in the municipality of Magsaysay, Davao del Sur calls for donations such as food and tents for his affected constituents.

Davin said they have already used their emergency funding since the first tremor on October 16.

The town of Magsaysay was still recovering from the devastation when another earthquake occurred on October 29.

“May mga areas kasi na noong unang lindol (kung saan) nag-issue na kami ng force evacuation kasi ang mga upland areas namin, ang lalaki na ng mga bitak noong nakaraang lindol,” the mayor explained.

(We already have ordered force evacuation in several areas after the first tremor because it caused large cracks to some of our upland areas.)

Mayor Davin explained that the number of evacuees doubled with the earthquake on October 29 which the evacuation centers could no longer accommodate.

“Ang talagang tulong na kinakailangan namin ay mga pagkain, mga temporary shelter, tents kasi ayaw nang matulog ng ating mga tao sa mga bahay (Our immediate needs for now are food and temporary shelter like tents because our people are hesitant to return to their respective houses),” he added.

Any donations can be coursed through the local government’s incident command center for proper accounting, the Mayor said.

PH authorities on alleged raid, confiscation of PPEs in hospitals: ‘Fake news!’

Robie de Guzman   •   April 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Authorities on Thursday denied information circulating online that the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is raiding private hospitals and confiscating stocks of personal protective equipment amid novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

May kumalat po na fake news that some hospitals were raided by government, specifically OCD, to confiscate their supplies and equipment para ipamigay sa ibang hospitals. Fake news po yan,” Mark Timbal, spokesperson of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRMC), said in a message to reporters.

The OCD is the implementing arm of the NDRRMC.

On Wednesday night, information about the supposed raid made rounds on social media. The confiscated medical supplies were allegedly being consolidated to be distributed to other health facilities with attributions to a senator.

In a social media post, the Medical City denied the occurrence of such an incident.

“There are news circulating that a raid of PPEs occurred in our premises on the evening of April 1. We deny this and encourage everyone to be careful in spreading unverified information,” the post read.

Senator Bong Go, whose name surfaced in social media posts in connection with the purported incident, denied the allegation.

“Claims circulating that I am involved in handling donations intended for the government are utterly false, deliberate disinformation, and black propaganda,” Go said in a statement.

He also denied having any hand in OCD operations after it was tasked by President Rodrigo Duterte to manage, consolidate and allocate all donations of medical supplies in relation to the government’s COVID-19 response.

“Nais ko po klaruhin na wala po akong kinalaman sa operasyon at mandato ng OCD. Wala rin pong kinalaman ang opisina ko sa distribution ng government resources,” Go said.

According to Timbal, the OCD, like what was done in previous disaster response operations, has been gathering resources through procurement and donations.

“In the case of the COVID-19 response, OCD procured PPEs and other medical supplies and received donations from various donors. These are then provided to various hospital recipients,” he said.

“We are very grateful po to all our donors and the member-agencies of the NDRRMC who provide logistical support for the transport of the various items that we are giving to hospitals across the country,” he added.

He also thanked the media for helping the agency in its fight against false information.

9 dead in Turkey after earthquake hits Iran border area

UNTV News   •   February 24, 2020

BASKALE, TURKEY (FEBRUARY 23, 2020)DAMAGED HOMES

Nine people died and hundreds of buildings collapsed in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (February 23) after a magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck near the border with Iran, injuring dozens in villages and towns in both countries, government officials said.

Three of those killed were children and 37 Turks were injured, including nine critically, Turkey’s health ministry said.

The shallow tremor caused more than 1,000 buildings to collapse in Turkey, prompting a brief rescue effort to find those trapped under rubble.

The quake damaged buildings some 90 km (56 miles) to the west in the Turkish city of Van, and to the east in dozens of villages in Iran, where state TV said 75 people were injured including six in hospital, though there were no fatalities.

Crisscrossed by major fault lines, Iran and Turkey are among the most earthquake-prone countries in the world.—Yesim Dikmen via Reuters Connect

Magnitude 5.4 quake rattles Davao Occidental

Robie de Guzman   •   February 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled parts of Davao Occidental on Thursday afternoon, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported.

In its bulletin, Phivolcs said the epicenter of the quake that struck around 5:54 p.m. was traced 35 kilometers southeast of Jose Abad Santos in Davao Occidental.

It had a depth of 190 kilometers and tectonic in origin.

The tremor was felt at intensity III in General Santos City, Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato, and Alabel, Saranggani; intensity II in Maasin and Malapatan, Sarangani, and Davao City, while intensity I was felt in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

Phivolcs said there was no reported damage but aftershocks should be expected.

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