FALSE: SM MOA has ‘damaged foundation’

Claim: A chain message about SM Mall of Asia's (MOA) weakened building foundations circulated after the Taal Volcano eruption on January 12. SM MOA is located in Bay City in Pasay City.

The chain message read: “Guys, avoid niyo din pumunta sa MOA. 1 of the engineers is our family friend and pinatawag sila ng management dahil nasira na ang mga pondasyon sa ilalim causing the water from the bay to enter sa ilalim. Pumping system na lang yung tumutulak pabalik ng water sa bay. Pag nasira ang mga pumps pwedeng magcollapse ang MOA. Please pass.”

(Guys, avoid going to MOA. One of the [mall’s] engineers is our family friend and they were called to a meeting because the foundation has been damaged, causing the water from the bay to enter underneath the building. Only the pumping system is left to propel water towards the bay. If these pumps get broken, MOA may collapse. Please pass.)

Several readers sent copies of the chain message to Rappler via email for fact checking. Claim Check, Facebook’s tool that identifies suspicious posts shared across the platform, also flagged 15 other online posts that carry the same message.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The management of SM MOA said the mall’s foundation is not compromised, and that their senior managers have not called for any meetings with their engineers. Local authorities also say there are no reported incidents of visible building damage.

In a statement on January 12, the official Facebook account of the mall said that the MOA complex is on normal operations. “There is no truth to the information circulating on Social Media that the foundation of the Mall of Asia Complex has been compromised,” it said.

A day after, the mall released another statement that addressed the chain message: “The foundation of the SM Mall of Asia Complex is built on concrete piles that reach the bedrock and will withstand extreme situations. The statement where water will make the building collapse is patently false.” 

“We also have rigorous annual checks to ensure the safety of the buildings so at no time will the safety of our customers, tenants, and employees be compromised,” the mall added.

The SM MOA Police Community Precinct also confirmed to Rappler that there had been no incidents reported to their station that may indicate such building damage as of January 14.

"Wala naman pong [reported incidents], wala rin pong visible na nakikita [na building damage]. Wala ring abiso ‘yung SM MOA na i-deploy kami [for security reasons]," PO1 Edd Ranger Aganon told Rappler in a phone call.

(There are no reported incidents so far, and there is also no visible building damage. The management of SM MOA has not given us any notice about the need for deployment either.)

Apart from the chain message, which came with no accompanying proof or photos, there are no reports on social media showing proof of water entering MOA. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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