VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Website recycles FAKE report on senior citizen pensions

Filipino senior citizens will not be receiving P6,000 monthly pensions, contrary to one report currently making rounds on the web.

The undated report by website pinoyofwnow.com was a 2017 story on senior citizen pensions that used a misleading headline designed to pique readers’ interest.

Bearing the title, "A guide to claiming PHP 6,000 monthly pension for senior citizens. Starting at AGE 60. Gift from DU30!" the fake story carried a video that stops playing after about 15 seconds and requires viewers to "share" it on Facebook to continue.

When opened on Youtube, the video is actually a United News International report uploaded Feb. 21, 2017 on its official channel that talks about how the Department of Social Welfare and Development's Social Pension Program doubled its coverage from 1.3 million beneficiaries in 2016 to 2.8 million that year.

Senior citizens will not be receiving P6,000 monthly, but annually -- or P500 monthly. The new program, however, only covers indigent seniors, which its enabling law Republic Act 9994 defines as persons 60 years old and above who are:

*frail, sickly or with disability;

*without any pension from other government agencies; and

*without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.

The stopping video is a modus reflected by other fake news reports such as death hoaxes and sex scandal spoofs. (Read: verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-bato-dela-rosa-murder-bucor-hoax; verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-corpses-foreigners-found-boracay-fake; verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-bato-dela-rosa-sex-tape-hoax)

Flemish fake news expert Maarten Schenck said such fake reports that appeal to emotion are often used by web publishers to generate income, evident in the amount of ads placed on the stories. (Read: http://www.verafiles.org/articles/vera-files-fact-check-scheme-behind-scams-why-death-hoaxes-d)

This particular story has at least 26 ads that take up more space than the actual content.

Pinoyofwnow.com's fake story, which has received over a thousand interactions on Facebook, was revived the same month the DSWD began releasing an additional P200 cash grant to indigent senior citizens in Eastern Visayas and Zamboanga del Norte.

Pinoyofwnow.com was created in November 2017.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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