FACT CHECK: Did Inquirer.net Report Metro Manila Would Be Under A Travel Lockdown In March And April 2021?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows the Philippines-based news site Inquirer.net reporting that travel in and out of Metro Manila would be suspended from March 15 to April 14, 2021.

Verdict: False

The image has been digitally altered. Inquirer.net’s original report correctly described the suspension of travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14, 2020.

Fact Check:

Metro Manila, also called the National Capital Region, is the most populous region in the Philippines and home to the country’s capital city of Manila, according to the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The March 13 post’s image shows what appears to be a screen grab of a Facebook post by the Inquirer.net about travel restrictions in and out of the region. The supposed screen grab includes links to an Inquirer.net Facebook live stream and news article.

“Land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila will be suspended starting March 15, 2021, until April 14,” reads the alleged Inquirer.net post. (RELATED: Did Anthony Hopkins Fake His COVID-19 Vaccination Shot?)

In reality, Inquirer.net did not report or post on social media that “land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel” in and out of Metro Manila would be suspended between those dates. Inquirer.net said the purported Facebook post is fake.

“WARNING: INQUIRER.net clarifies that the dates in the circulating social media post on travel ban was manipulated,” Inquirer.net said on Facebook. “It was a rehash of a news post posted March 12, 2020.”

Indeed, the fake image circulating online is a doctored version of a real Inquirer.net Facebook post from March 12, 2020, which said land, sea and air travel to and from Manila would be suspended from March 15 to April 14 that year. The linked March 2020 news article explained the travel restrictions had been enacted in response to COVID-19, while the Facebook live stream showed a speech from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The implementation of the COVID-19 travel restrictions for Metro Manilla on March 15, 2020, was reported by other news outlets such as Bloomberg, CNN Philippines and Raptly at the time.

The Philippines has recently seen a spike in COVID-19 infections, Reuters reported March 16. Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso announced on Friday that 16 of the city’s barangays, or neighborhoods, would be under lockdown from March 22 to 25 due to COVID-19, according to Inquirer.net.

Domagoso had previously instituted a lockdown in six barangays from March 17 through 20, according to the City of Manilla’s website. The city’s website says it is made up of 897 barangays.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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