A viral post on social media, which even made its way through SMS and chat rooms, has been making the rounds over the weekend amid heated talks about the earthquakes that recently rocked the province of Batangas.
The post reads something like this:
While this is actually a well-meaning post, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has denied issuing such a statement.
The thing is, posts made from carelessly edited half-truths like this are downright irresponsible and hurt more than they help. Meanwhile, those who are gullible enough to share it add to the general misinformation that causes more panic and this results in disaster.
We know the intention is good, but unless you’re sharing something directly from Phivolcs, Malacañang, or the main local news agencies, then it’s best not to spread false information, especially if you yourself are unsure of the info.
But just to set things straight, the possibility of an earthquake occurring is now looming over public consciousness, and with the lack of technology present in our country, it's difficult to predict when tragedy might strike.
There’s also another viral post that was uploaded by various blogs that basically stated the Phivolcs “confirmed” that the “Big One” or a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could possibly be produced by the West Valley Fault might happen any time soon.
Now, while the Big One may indeed happen at any given moment, the post is only further fanning the flames of fear and confusion in people who are already in a state of panic.
The article originally appeared in February following the Surigao quake and the Phivolcs was only issuing a precaution (but not a prediction) to the public at the time.
Aside from this, the Phivolcs has flatly denied that the recent Batangas earthquakes could trigger the Big One since the fault that caused these are not connected to the West Valley Fault.
In February, the Phivolcs issued an advisory asking the public not to spread these types of rumors of the Big One.
So the next time you see similar posts about earthquakes going viral just remember one thing: The time and place where earthquakes strike can’t be predicted.
And before sharing, ask yourself:
1) Is the source a legitimate one like Phivolcs?
2) Did you check other legitimate sources for official announcements?
3) Will your post cause unnecessary panic or will it help save peoples’ lives?
To learn more, here’s an explanation about the recent Batangas quakes from Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum himself: