FALSE: Photo of Philippine flag used as tablecloth 'in SEA Games 2019' event

Claim: A photo showing the Philippine flag being used as a tablecloth for catering services was supposedly taken during the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2019. (READ: The devil's in the details: 10 logistical blunders at SEA Games 2019)

The caption of the post, credited in the screenshots to journalist Ricky Velasco, reads: “But wait there’s more. This to all the blunders in the SEA Games 2019. Meals are served to participating athletes. But using our flag as a table cover mantle? Notice that the flag even touches the floor.”

Velasco credited the photo to Facebook user Albert Papina. 

The photos have been shared by various Facebook groups and personal accounts accumulating total shares of over 2,600 with 200 reactions and 100 comments. 

The claim was sent to Rappler's fact check email for verification.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The photos were not taken at any SEA Games events. These were originally captured in 2015 in an "undisclosed event," according to Papina.

Papina told Rappler in a Facebook message that he took the photo from his friend’s post dated November 2015. “What I gathered from my friend’s post is it happened in 2015 in an undisclosed place,” he said. 

Papina did not associate the photos with the SEA Games. Below is his original post dated November 25:


In a Facebook message to Rappler, Velasco said that his post was "rigged" or altered by trolls, as he did not actually mention the SEA Games. Velasco's post has since been deleted.

In a text message to Rappler, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Butch Ramirez denied that a Philippine flag was used as a tablecloth at a SEA Games event, saying it was “fake news.”

PSC executive director Guillermo Iroy also said in a report that they checked various SEA Games venues and confirmed that the photos were not taken in any of those. 

Republic Act (RA) No. 8491 or the Code of the National Flag states that the flag should not be used “as a drapery, festoon, tablecloth.” 

This is just one of the false posts about the SEA Games circulating on social media. Another is the claim about Rizal Memorial Stadium being “not part of the official venues” for 2019. – Glenda Marie Castro/Rappler.com