A group of physical therapists cautioned the public against a health worker who is spreading false information about COVID-19 and its vaccines.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Philippine Physical Therapy Association, Inc. (PPTA) said that Ronald Samaniego, a physical therapist, is not a member of the association and that his views do not reflect the views of the entire physical therapy profession.
The organization also condemned his “unethical and irresponsible behavior in the strongest possible terms” as evidenced in his “false and baseless claims” about the pandemic through social media.
“We have reviewed some of the statements he made, and his claims about vaccination and the COVID-19 pandemic now circulating on social media which are clearly unfounded and without medical value,” PPTA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We are looking into the appropriate ethical complaint that we can file with the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) concerning this matter,” it added.
The organization also encouraged the physical therapy community and the general public to be “cautious” about the information they consume and the personalities behind it.
“We need to be active combatants against the spread of disinformation and misinformation. Now more than ever, we need to be able to rely on solid information backed-up by evidence from trusted sources and agencies/organizations if we are to win against this pandemic,” PPTA said.
The statement came after Twitter users urged fellow Filipinos to report the Facebook pages of Samaniego whom they called a “COVID denier.”
“Please head on to FB and report this COVID denier page! Wala raw COVID sa Pinas kasi binagyo na tayo at mainit here, ampowta. This sh*thead is part of the problem,” a Filipino wrote, attaching screengrabs of the pages.
Another Twitter user wondered if they could report him to PPTA since Samaniego calls himself a “doctor of physical therapy,” as seen on his Instagram account.
Last Sunday, the Department of Health shared a screengrab of one of his videos without mentioning his name and warned the public against “fake news.”
The health agency shared some information about COVID-19 to counter Samaniego’s false claims that the disease is not deadly and that it cannot be detected by a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
“The Department of Health reminds everyone to always make fact checking a habit. Always verify information available online with legitimate sources,” it said on a Facebook post.
Samaniego also falsely claimed that vaccines against COVID-19 contain harmful chemicals. He also questioned the need for it since lots of people recover from the disease, based on DOH’s recoveries count.
Dr. Adam Smith, an Australian doctor-vlogger, debunked the physical therapist’s claims in his own video by enumerating facts and medical evidence on COVID-19.
He also urged Samaniego to do his research first before sharing information relating to the pandemic.
As of Tuesday, the disease has infected a total of 812,760 individuals in the country.
More than 150,000 of these are active cases.
COVID-19 has also killed 13,817 individuals while recoveries stand at 646,381.