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This viral photo is not of a Covid-19 relief operation

By Jessica Pag-iwayan

On social media, netizens are lauding local government units that are doing exemplary well in protecting their constituents against the threat of the deadly coronavirus, from strictly implementing community quarantine rules to providing food and monetary assistance to people. 

Recently, a photo of relief operations taken in Batanes went viral. The post showed how organized that relief operation was, and even got shared on a Facebook group specifically created for Covid-19-related updates. 

This photo immediately went viral. “THE MOST ORGANIZED RELIEF OPERATION IN BATANES. Lets do the Philippine Red Cross Way,” the post says. “Learn from the Ivatans. There are no casualties during calamities because Ivatans prepare for eventualities. This is Batanes! Our little paradise up north!”


VIRAL The viral relief operation image on social media (OPAL BALA)

While it is truly commendable how organized the operation was, the question is, is the photo truly showing a Covid-19 relief operation? To answer that question, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle reached out to the photographer of the viral image named Opal E. Bala

According to Opal, the photo is not of a Covid-19 relief operation and was taken in 2016 after super typhoon Ferdie hit Batanes. 


The Philippine Red Cross operation in Batanes, 2016

“It was taken in 2016 after super typhoon Ferdie,” he explains. “It’s a relief distribution organized by The Philippine Red Cross here in Batanes.” 

Opal also eager to shed light on this matter to avoid confusion. 

As of writing, Batanes remains Covid-19 free. —(With reports from Jhon Dave Ablat)

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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