VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Report on ‘massive typhoon’ hitting PH is FROM 2015

As Luzon entered its sixth week of enhanced community quarantine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, netizens misleadingly revived an outdated story about a typhoon hitting the country. It bore the headline, “Philippines Bracing for Direct Hit From Massive Typhoon.”

The news report is over four years old, published on Oct. 16, 2015 by the National Broadcasting Company. Koppu, the name of the typhoon, as seen on the report’s thumbnail, was locally called Lando and made landfall that Oct. 14. It left 58 people dead and over P14.3 billion in damages to agriculture and infrastructure in Luzon.

Several public Facebook (FB) groups and pages began resurfacing the old story on April 15, even as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that day that there is “no low pressure area or storm within the Philippine Area of Responsibility.”

Traffic to the story largely came from the following social media accounts that dubiously revived the NBC report: FB groups SWERTRES HEARING – SMALL TOWN LOTTERY – LOTTO RESULTS and BANGSAMORO NEWS, and FB page I LOVE BENGUET.

Reaching over 1,000 interactions collectively, the revived posts were met with mixed reactions from netizens, some calling it out as misleading while others expressing worry and invoking prayers.

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