Disaster Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: No prediction of earthquakes to hit Baguio, several Luzon provinces


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FACT CHECK: No prediction of earthquakes to hit Baguio, several Luzon provinces
Foreign and local seismologists have repeatedly debunked claims that earthquakes can be accurately predicted

Claim: A self-proclaimed psychic claims that a strong earthquake would hit Baguio, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and other neighboring areas. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made by popular Filipino figure Mamu Hayi Cruz on a Facebook post, which has garnered 280 reactions, 21 comments, and 3 shares as of writing.

The post dated June 16 read: “Nakita ko ang malakas [na] paglindol sa gawi ng Baguio at mga karatig lugar nito kasama ang Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan at ilan malalapit na lugar.”

(I saw a strong earthquake in Baguio and its neighboring areas, including Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and other nearby areas.)

The bottom line: Currently, scientists do not have the technological capabilities to accurately predict when and where an earthquake will occur. 

What earthquake-monitoring agencies such as the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) can do is calculate the probability of a major earthquake occurring in a specific area within a certain period of time, according to a 2022 explainer released by Rappler. However, these probabilities cannot accurately predict the exact time an earthquake could occur. 

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EXPLAINER: Is it possible to predict earthquakes?

EXPLAINER: Is it possible to predict earthquakes?

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) also said that neither the agency nor other scientists know how to predict major earthquakes and they “do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future”.

Earthquake predictions: According to the USGS, so-called earthquake predictions have to satisfy three elements: the date and time, location, and magnitude of an earthquake. Based on these criteria, the claim made in the Facebook post fails as a prediction, as it only mentions the general location of the supposed earthquake and does not provide specific details.

Previous warnings: Phivolcs has repeatedly issued public advisories on these so-called earthquake “predictions.” 

In November 2019, Phivolcs warned the public about a claim that a 7.1 magnitude earthquake would hit Metro Manila. Debunking the claim, the agency said: “Sa kasalukuyan, wala pang teknolohiya sa buong mundo na maaring malaman kung kailan maaaring maganap ang isang malakas na lindol.” 

(Currently, there is no technology in the world capable of determining when a strong earthquake will occur.)

Debunked claim: The prediction was posted on the Facebook account named Gloria Escoto, one of the accounts of the self-proclaimed clairvoyant Mamu Hayi. Vera Files had previously debunked one of her claims that COVID-19 vaccines would turn people into “robots” after 10 years.

Rappler fact-checks: Recently, there has been a resurgence of predictions by self-proclaimed psychics and supposed seers about disasters. Rappler has repeatedly debunked such claims: 

Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

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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