Fact checks about gov't agencies

False: Kids can’t visit their godparents’ houses during Christmas – DOH

False: Kids can’t visit their godparents’ houses during Christmas – DOH
The DOH did not say that children cannot visit their godparents during the holidays
At a glance:
  • Claim: The Department of Health (DOH) said that children can’t visit their godparents houses during Christmas amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Rating: False
  • The facts: The DOH did not say that children cannot visit their godparents during the holidays.
  • Why we fact-checked this: This claim is spreading on different Facebook pages with a total of 1,839 interactions.
Complete details:

What appears to be a newspaper headline says that the Department of Health (DOH) is prohibiting children from visiting their godparents’ houses during Christmas.

This rumor has been circulating on different Facebook pages and groups since December 2, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They have accumulated a total of 1,839 interactions as of writing. 

This is false. The DOH released a department circular and a health advisory and held a media forum on celebrating the holidays during the pandemic. None of them prohibited children from visiting their godparents.

Department Circular (DC) No. 2020-0355 or the “Reiteration of the Minimum Public Health Standards for Covid-19 Mitigation during the holidays” was released on November 23, 2020 during a DOH media forum. The department circular did not prohibit anyone from visiting friends and family.

During a virtual media forum on December 14, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire was joined by Dr Victoria Nolasco of the University of the Philippines’ Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. They mentioned studies that have found that children can spread the COVID-19 virus and encouraged holiday celebrations via video chat. They did not say that kids cannot visit family members during the holidays.

A health advisory released on December 21 also reminded the public that people aged 65 years old and above should not leave their houses unless they need to buy necessities or work.

The DOH also denied the claim, saying in a text message to Rappler, “No such pronouncement was released by DOH.”

A Google search of the headline does not return a corresponding article. A reverse image search only returns similar images from Facebook pages, not an official newspaper’s website. – Owenh Toledo/Rappler.com

This article was written by a volunteer of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program, a 5-week exclusive and hands-on training on detecting, investigating, and verifying online misinformation and disinformation.

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