President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday chided media for what he said were wrong reports on Super Typhoon Ruby (international codename: Hagupit), and likening it to last year’s reporting on Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Speaking at a forum in Pasay City (Metro Manila), Aquino reminded the media of their “capacity to shape discourse, agenda and the priorities of both government and society.”
“On Tuesday, Secretary Mario Montejo of our DOST [Department of Science and Technology] informed me that Ruby’s estimated strength would be somewhere in the neighborhood of about 140 kilometers per hour, bringing with it heavy rains if it makes landfall, expectedly on Sunday. Let us remember now that Yolanda’s maximum winds based on some reports were pegged at about 300 kph,” the President said.
“On Wednesday, one of our major dailies headlined Ruby as ‘Yolanda-like.’ We all know that the paper had to be printed on Tuesday, and thus the information that the report was based [on]must have come from Tuesday’s information,” he added.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer carried a banner story using the same term on Wednesday .
The President said he was “concerned with such a statement,” but said “up until yesterday at the NDRRMC [National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council] briefing, there was no indication or official analysis predicting that Ruby would be Yolanda-like in strength.”
“At best, if Ruby struck, its strength would be more comparable to Pablo,” he said.
Super Typhoon Yolanda (international codename: Haiyan), which struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, was the strongest storm on record to hit land. It left more than 6,000 people dead and thousands more missing.
“One has to ask: What was the basis of such speculation, and don’t we all agree that in reporting, we must always get the facts right, the angle right, and the news right, if we are to truly inform our people?” the President said.