COVID-19 Fact Checks

FALSE: ABS-CBN noise barrage protesters ‘confirmed positive for COVID-19’

FALSE: ABS-CBN noise barrage protesters ‘confirmed positive for COVID-19’
There are no official reports that anyone tested positive for COVID-19 due to the July 18 noise barrage

Protesters who were with actress Angel Locsin at the ABS-CBN noise barrage held on Saturday, July 18, were infected with COVID-19.

The claim originated from a Wednesday, July 22, blog post on titled, “Confirmed: Mga Nag-rally Kasama ni Angel Locsin sa ABS-CBN Nag-positive!” (Confirmed: Those who rallied with Angel Locsin at the ABS-CBN protest turned positive!)

The blog post had a YouTube video of President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo saying he received news of the claim via text messages. He blamed the supposed COVID-19 positive cases on the lack of “minimum health safety protocols,” particularly social distancing and the wearing of face masks and shields.

The video and article were posted by Facebook pages such as “Status Pilipinas,” and shared in Facebook groups like “Protect the President Duterte.” 

As of writing, the post by Status Pilipinas has gained 479 reactions and 809 shares. A copy of the video uploaded by the Facebook page “Pinoy Online Trends TV” has gained approximately 2,100 views as of writing.

This claim was posted on the “Fact-checking in the Philippines” Facebook group for verification.

Rating: FALSE
The facts:

As of Tuesday, July 28, there have been no official reports that anyone who joined the July 18 noise barrage tested positive for COVID-19 due to their attendance of the said event.

Panelo’s supposed text messages could not be proven and were not supplemented by official Department of Health (DOH) data.

As of July 28, there are no press releases, case bulletins, or situationer updates from the DOH indicating the existence of COVID-19 cases that stemmed from protests. The regular virtual pressers of the department also do not mention this.

None of the noise barrage attendees have come forward to report that they were tested for COVID-19 or that they received a positive result. 

The footage of Panelo in the blog post was taken from his Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) segment called “Counterpoint with Secretary Salvador Panelo,” which aired on July 20, two days after the protest.

According to the World Health Organization, “The time between exposure to COVID-19 and the moment when symptoms start is commonly around 5 to 6 days but can range from 1 to 14 days.”

Also, contrary to Panelo’s claim on the lack of health safety protocols, footage of the rally from ABS-CBN News shows protesters wearing face masks and shields. – Aleijn Reintegrado/

This article was written by a Rappler volunteer or intern and reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.