A social media hoax involving a warning from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) that Cagayan de Oro City or Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental could be the epicenter of a catastrophic, high-magnitude quake has resurfaced online.
According to the fake post, the two localities lie in an active fault line and that there is a chance that “a magnitude 7.2 tremor could trigger a tsunami as high as a 15-story building.”
The hoax cites an unnamed Phivolcs regional director who was interviewed by an unnamed local radio station.
The post even cites “Digos veteran seismologists” as proving the claim.
However, the post has been proven to be fake. It actually circulated way back 2019.
Several influential Facebook pages have circulated the false information, such as Paraluman‘s post that generated at least 1,000 reactions, 56 comments and 636 shares as of Tuesday, 26 April.
Phivolcs denied the claim last April 21.
According to a search via Meta tool Crowdtangle, the recent fake post originated from one posted on 29 October 2021 by Facebook page Pasakit, which generated 153,301 Likes as of 26 April 2022.
The Crowdtangle report showed the hoax’s popularity spiked at least three times since 29 October 2019. The fake news spread after two strong earthquakes hit North Cotabato on that day.
Reliefweb.int, which tracks down disaster events worldwide, said:
“On 29 October 2019, two strong earthquakes struck the province of North Cotabato, Mindanao. The first, a magnitude 6.6 in Tulunan at 09:04; the second, a magnitude 6.1 and 9km deep at 10:42 with almost the same epicenter. Just two days after, on 31 October 2019 at 09:15, another tectonic magnitude 6.5 earthquake shook central and eastern Mindanao at a shallow depth of two kilometers. The epicenter was again identified in Tulunan, North Cotabato.”
“A state of calamity was declared for Davao del Sur on 30 October and Cotabato on 5 November, the two hardest hit provinces. These earthquakes, as well as the magnitude 6.3 earthquake recorded on 16 October 2019, with the same epicenter location, are considered part of a sequence of events resulting from interdependent faults in the region. No tsunami warnings were issued but many aftershocks, ranging from magnitude 1.5 to 5.5 were recorded.”
As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)
(This fact-check piece was produced with the support of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project.)