Disaster Fact Checks

FALSE: List of Tuguegarao volunteers offering shelter for Cagayan evacuees

FALSE: List of Tuguegarao volunteers offering shelter for Cagayan evacuees
The volunteers are not offering shelter assistance for the evacuees in Cagayan Valley. They are currently organizing a donation drive to aid the residents in the area.
At a glance:
  • Claim: Volunteers were allegedly offering shelter assistance for the evacuees in Cagayan Valley after Typhoon Ulysses circulated on social media on Saturday, November 14.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The volunteers are not offering shelter assistance for the evacuees in Cagayan Valley, but are currently organizing a donation drive to aid the residents in the area.
  • Why we fact checked this: This claim has been repeatedly shared and cross-posted on Facebook and Twitter, which could potentially disrupt the rescue operations in the area.
Complete details:

Volunteers are allegedly offering shelter assistance for evacuees in Cagayan Valley after Typhoon Ulysses. The list also included their contact numbers. This circulated on social media on Saturday, November 14.

As of writing, the same post has been repeatedly shared and cross-posted by thousands of social media users both on Facebook and Twitter.

This claim is false. The volunteers on the list are not offering shelter assistance for the evacuees in Cagayan Valley, but they are currently organizing a donation drive to aid the residents in the area.

The volunteers belong to the group Itad-dak Tam Y Tuguegarao “Ibangon Natin ang Tuguegarao, a relief organization from Cagayan province. The group posted on their Facebook page on Saturday that their volunteers are only accepting donations for the victims of Typhoon Ulysses in Tuguegarao City.

“There have been circulating posts regarding our group accepting evacuees. We would like to clarify that our group are only organizing a donation drive for now, as well as to coordinate rescue efforts to the actual professional rescuers to help those affected by the flood here in Tuguegarao City,” the organization said.

In an interview with Rappler on Facebook Messenger, the organization said they initially posted the contact numbers of their volunteers to offer evacuation assistance for the typhoon victims in Tuguegarao. However, they emphasized that they were only assisting the evacuees through their donation drive and not offering shelter assistance.

“Originally, we were trying to help people [to] evacuate to safer places. We can only reach them as far as our vehicles could go. [Because of that], we decided to focus on our donation drive instead and leave the rescuing to the experts themselves,” the group said.

They also said that the false information started to spread when some social media users began to rephrase their original post for those who can only access information through text and Facebook free data.

One of the volunteers named in the post also said that there have been some delays in their operations due to the false information circulating online. He said that because of this, their numbers were accidentally added to the list of people in need of rescue.

“I just want to reiterate this. Ang dami pa rin talagang tumatawag sa amin until now, asking if we still need to be rescued. So nasasayang din [‘yung] efforts nila sa pakikipag-coordinate sa mga rescuers. Siguro [ang] bottomline [nito] ay in times of crises, sobrang prone sa pagkalat ang ‘fake news.’ Need talaga magdoble ingat sa shineshare [ang] mga tao and verify first if legitimate ‘yung sources,” the volunteer said.

(There are still a lot of people who are calling us, asking if we still need to be rescued. So their efforts in coordinating with rescuers are wasted. Maybe the bottom line here is that times of crises are very prone to the spread of misinformation. We need to be extra careful with what we share and verify first if the sources are legitimate.)

Claim Check, Facebook’s monitoring tool, flagged at least 8 posts on the platform that contained the claim as of writing.

Itad-dak Tam Y Tuguegarao “Ibangon Natin ang Tuguegarao” is a donation drive initiated by resident volunteers in Tuguegarao City. They are currently seeking monetary and in-kind donations to aid the typhoon victims in their area. For more information on how you can donate, you can visit their official Facebook page. – with reports from Hyacinth Estrada, Pauline Macaraeg/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.

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