Posts mislead on media coverage of Philippine government preparations for Super Typhoon Noru

Posts mislead on media coverage of Philippine government preparations for Super Typhoon Noru

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

Facebook and TikTok users shared an image allegedly showing the Philippine media’s “bias” against the government in their coverage of Super Typhoon Noru. The posts — viewed thousands of times — claimed local media outlets had produced “no news” about the government’s preparations for the storm, yet they had highlighted the efforts of a charity run by former vice president Leni Robredo. This claim is false; keyword searches found multiple news reports about the government-run social welfare agency’s preparations days before Noru made landfall in the country.

“Bias (sic) as always! Hahahaha. Sunday morning, the DSWD was already preparing food packs and other emergency goods but no news about it was being published,” reads the Tagalog-language caption of an image shared on Facebook here on September 27.

It compares screenshots of two Facebook posts, one showing a report by a local broadcaster about the work of Robredo’s Angat Buhay NGO and another showing staff from the Department of Social Welfare and Development readying food packs for vulnerable areas as Super Typhoon Noru was predicted to make landfall on September 25.

Text next to TV5’s September 26 post says “Angat Bangko 2025/2028 election”, mocking the NGO’s name by substituting it with the Tagalog phrase for tooting one’s own horn.

The former vice president lost her bid for the top job in May 2022 and launched Angat Buhay in July.

Meanwhile, Tagalog text beside social welfare chief Erwin Tulfo’s Facebook post on September 25 translates as “not reported on; just works quietly”.

Screenshot of false post taken on October 4, 2022

Super Typhoon Noru, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year, left at least ten people dead after it toppled trees, knocked out power and flooded low-lying communities in the country’s most populous island.

But there were no reports of severe widespread damage from the storm that tore through the country on September 25 and 26.

The image was shared more than 20,000 times in similar posts on TikTok; and on Facebook here, here and here.

Comments showed people believed Philippine media did not report on the government’s preparation for the storm.

“You really can’t trust these biased media. They report on those with a few donations but ignores those giving tonnes of help”, one wrote.

“Even if you promote Leni, we’ll make sure she will never win any position”, another commented.

This is false. Multiple keyword searches showed various media outlets in the Philippines reported on DSWD’s preparations for the typhoon.

As early as September 24, Philippine media including broadcaster GMA News, radio station DWIZ and state television PTV reported on DSWD’s assurance that it was ready for Storm Typhoon Noru, locally named Karding.

On September 25, hours after Tulfo’s Facebook post, and Manila Bulletin wrote about the food packs to be delivered to regions predicted to bear the typhoon’s brunt.

On the same day, People’s Journal and Manila Bulletin reported that the DSWD had made a disaster relief fund worth more than P1.6 billion (US$ 27.2 million) available to people affected by the storm.

Additional coverage of DSWD’s disaster response was aired the next day, September 26, including on TV5, ABS-CBN News Channel and Manila Bulletin .

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