Ubial denies own information, singles out Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Paulyn Ubial singled out Rappler, and denied her own information, on something that was reported by several media organizations.  

Health Secretary Ubial, as quoted in a statement posted on Friday, June 16 by Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, accused Rappler of “totally and intentionally” giving the “wrong numbers” in our report titled, “59 Marawi evacuees die of health-related causes – Ubial.” 

At a forum in Legazpi City, Albay, on Thursday, June 15, Ubial said 40, who were not in evacuation centers, died of dehydration, while 19, who were previously hospitalized, died in evacuation centers, where their existing health conditions were aggravated.

Ubial, however, said she reviewed the video recording and "clearly said" there were "no deaths in Evacuation Centers."

The figures cited and quotes used in Rappler’s story were based on our Bicol correspondent Rhaydz Barcia’s recording of the question-and-answer session with Ubial translated from Filipino. The same numbers and direct quotes from her were used by the Inquirer, the Manila Times, and government-run Philippine News Agency. Only the PNA took down its post.  

WITNESSES. Several media organizations reported on Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial's statement, that she claimed she never said.

WITNESSES. Several media organizations reported on Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial's statement, that she claimed she never said.

A little past 4 pm Friday, after a DOH media officer told us we got the figures "wrong," we requested the officer to send us a written clarification that we could run if the Secretary wanted to correct what she said at the forum. No such statement was sent to us. Instead, text messages were circulated by the secretary and people associated with her office to different channels, singling out Rappler.

The Philippine Star on Friday, June 16, published a report that quoted Kadil Sinolinding Jr, the health chief of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who said a higher number of persons, in fact, died in evacuation centers: 39, and that 19 of the cases had been properly documented. – Rappler.com