VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Online post claiming Chinese hospital ship to aid ‘Ompong’ victims FALSE

Facebook page Mga Balitang Pilipinas on Sept. 13 falsely claimed China’s naval hospital ship Peace Ark will offer assistance to Typhoon Ompong victims.

In a post, the page carried three old photos of the Peace Ark with a misleading caption that read, “BREAKING NEWS | Hospital ship ng China, nakaantabay sakaling kailangan ni Duterte para tumulong sa mga masasalanta ng Bagyong Ompong sa Luzon (Hospital ship of China, on standby to aid Typhoon Ompong victims in Luzon should Duterte need it).”

None of the photos were taken recently, or prior to Ompong’s landfall last weekend. The pictures are actually:

  • a 2010 Agence France-Presse photo of the Peace Ark on its way to Tanzania, posted on Getty Images;
  • a 2010 Xinhua photo of the naval hospital ship arriving at the Gulf of Aden in the Indian Ocean and,
  • a 2014 photo of the Peace Ark at the Rim of the Pacific Exercise

No legitimate news organization reported the claim. China’s commitment to help the Philippines “within its capacity as soon as possible,” was made on September 16, a day after Ompong hit Northern Luzon.

China once deployed its Peace Ark in the Philippines to extend medical assistance after the onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

The misleading post has garnered over 23,500 interactions and could have reached at least 185,500 people.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)