MISLEADING: ‘Photos’ of relief operations in earthquake-hit Mindanao

Claim: Facebook user Romeo Leaño "Dax" Samonte II posted on November 4 several photos of military personnel carrying boxes of relief goods from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for earthquake-stricken areas in Mindanao.

Samonte captioned the post, “Without media coverage, government delivered in Mindanao last week. And I am sure, this wasn’t the first delivery. Thanks to Aleksa Del Rioz for this personal documentation that she shared yesterday. GOD IS GOOD!!!”

Samonte tagged and credited a certain Facebook user named Aleksa Del Rioz for the photos. 

The claim was sent to Rappler’s email for fact checking. Since its posting, it has been shared for almost 2,000 times with 612 reactions and 41 comments, as of writing.

Rating: MISLEADING

The facts: Not all of the photos in Samonte's Facebook album were taken after the quakes in Cotabato, and not all can be attributed to Del Rioz's "personal documentation." 

Two photos were originally taken in 2015 by a Rappler photographer for a typhoon relief operation in Aurora province. Meanwhile, 4 photos were indeed taken after the Mindanao earthquakes in October 2019, but were provided by DSWD Region XII information officers Hilbert Estacion and Ronald Daria. (READ: Magnitude 6.5 earthquake rocks parts of Mindanao)     

Rappler took the following photos during the government’s relief operations in Aurora province which was devastated by Typhoon Lando in October 2015. (READ: Typhoon Lando hits land in Casiguran, Aurora) 

RELIEF GOODS. Members of the Philippine Air Force bring relief goods to Aurora province, after it was struck by Typhoon Lando in October 2015. Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

RELIEF GOODS. Members of the Philippine Air Force bring relief goods to Aurora province, after it was struck by Typhoon Lando in October 2015.

Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

FOOD PACKS. Relief goods are unloaded from a C-130 plane in Baler, Aurora. Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

FOOD PACKS. Relief goods are unloaded from a C-130 plane in Baler, Aurora.

Photo by Jansen Romero/Rappler

In October 2019, 3 successive strong quakes hit Cotabato in Mindanao. (READ: FAST FACTS: The destructive earthquakes that hit Mindanao)

The Philippine Air Force C-130 aircraft arrived in General Santos City on October 30 to deliver emergency supplies from the DSWD. The official Facebook page of DSWD XII posted the following: 

An online news site has also reported about the government's response to situation. On November 1, radyo.inquirer.net said the military aircraft carried emergency supplies, including sleeping kits, laminated sacks, and tents for those displaced by the earthquake. 

Rappler also asked the DSWD Region XII office through Facebook Messenger whether Del Rioz was affiliated with them or was part of the relief operations team for Mindanao. Their office said they did not know Del Rioz.

Based on his Facebook profile, Dax Samonte is a supporter of the administration who regularly posts criticisms against the opposition. In 2018, one of his posts was fact-checked as it shared a wrong photo of Panguil Bay Bridge

Many misleading photos had been fact-checked before in relation to disaster relief operations of the government. In September 2018, for instance, a post showing an image of boxes of relief goods from DSWD was mistaken for Typhoon Ompong relief efforts. But the photo was also originally captured in 2015 during a post-Typhoon Lando relief operation.

A hoax claiming that a magnitude 8.0 earthquake will soon hit Mindanao following the strong quakes was also proven false. – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com 

If you suspect a Facebook page, group, account, a website, or an article is spreading false information, let Rappler know by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.