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Atom Araullo blasts claims online about the origins of his name

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Oct 25, 2022 7:30 pm

Atom Araullo is debunking the disinformation that he was named after the August Twenty One Movement, or ATOM.

The veteran journalist took to Twitter to dismiss the claims, saying that he was born after the death of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino and the anti-Marcos protest groups that were formed after.

"Utang na loob, itigil niyo na yung teoryang ipinangalan ako sa August Twenty One Movement o ATOM," he wrote. Pinaslang po si Ninoy noong Aug 21, 1983. Ipinanganak ako noong 1982 (ayan age reveal tuloy).

"Ang Atom po ay kumbinasyon ng Alfonso at Tomas, na pangalan ng dalawa kong Lolong astig," he added.

He furthered that he found the claims laughable, but said that the Philippines is still in dire need of media literacy.

"Nakakatawa na ang dami-daming naniniwala diyan, at ginagamit na pruweba ng umano’y secret political agenda ko (gasp). Never thought I’d need to explain this, but here we are. #Disinformation is real. Learning poverty is real," Araullo said in succeeding tweets.

This wouldn't be the first time that the Palanca Award-winning essayist has been the target of false information online.

Just this week, a netizen claimed that his mother, Carol Pagaduan Araullo, is a member of the New People’s Army and among those behind the Mendiola Massacre.

" I don’t usually call out private individuals here, but behavior like this should not be normalized. Disinformation is a huge problem globally, one that can have deadly consequences," he shared along with screenshots of the netizen.

"These are lies, probably fed to you by some of the influencers you follow. Kailan pa naging katanggap-tanggap yung ganito?" he further queried.

Meanwhile, the "learning poverty" that Araullo referenced has become a real issue on the discussion of information dissemination and media literacy in the country.

Learning poverty is defined as inability to read and understand age-appropriate texts by the age of 10. According to the World Bank, the Philippines stands at at the bottom of the learning poverty list with a 90.9% learning poverty among school-going children. 

For comparison, fellow ASEAN countries are at 2.8% (Singapore), 18.1% (Vietnam), and 23.4% (Thailand).