VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Comparison of infrastructure projects under different administrations MISLEADING

A misleading meme has been circulating on Facebook (FB) since early this month, showing infrastructure projects in the past and present, and describing them as a legacy of each administration.

The Nov. 5 post features an image of the San Juanico Bridge as a “Marcos legacy,” the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) a “Duterte legacy” and several images of bronze sculptures as the “Aquino legacy.”

San Juanico Bridge, which connects the islands of Leyte and Samar, was built during the time of the late president Ferdinand Marcos. This is true.

But the meme misleadingly credits President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration for the CCLEX. VERA Files has debunked this claim. It is not a flagship project of the “Build, Build, Build” program. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Crediting Mark Villar, Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ for Cebu bridge started during Aquino’s term needs context)

The CCLEX is a public-private venture led by the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC), a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), in cooperation with the City of Cebu and Municipality of Cordova according to their website. Planning for the construction of the bridge started as early as 2014, two years before Duterte came into office.

The image of the bridge was taken from CCLEX’s website in their project updates page.

Images of bronze busts, statues and monuments fill the “Aquino legacy” section of the meme, prompting sarcastic comments from netizens.

They said the Aquinos have nothing to show as accomplishments compared to other administrations. Their legacy consisted of statues, one said. Another asked: What purpose do the monuments serve?

The statues shown in the post were built after Corazon Aquino’s presidency and before the administration of her son, Noynoy. Others were private projects and some were built during Duterte’s time.

The first image on the top row of the “Aquino legacy” section is the People Power Monument taken from a 2015 Alamy stock image. The monument was built in 1993, during former President Fidel V. Ramos’ tenure according to the Intellectual Property of the Philippines.

The next photo is a monument of former president Corazon “Cory” Aquino taken from an archived article of Philippine Daily Inquirer. The monument was inaugurated in Manila in January 2010, a few months before Noynoy became president.

The photo of a monument of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Sr. was taken from a Flickr photo taken in February 2011 and located in Tarlac City.

The statue of the Aquino couple was taken by blogger Frencel Tingga in 2013. The statue is in the Aquino Museum, managed by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, in Tarlac.

On the bottom row, the first bust of former president Aquino III was taken from an article published in June this year by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP). The bust was sculpted in 2017, early in Duterte’s term.

The next two busts are also owned by the Aquino Museum. The images were taken from a 2014 blog post published by blog Gastronomy by Joy.

The statue of the late former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Jesse Robredo is located at the Museo ni Jesse which was inaugurated by the NHCP in 2017. The photo was taken from a 2017 ABS-CBN article.

The last image is that of the Ninoy Aquino Monument located in the heart of the Ayala financial district in Makati. The photo was taken by photographer Mark Maranga in 2011 but the structure had been there many years before that.

While the post did not mention infrastructure projects during Noynoy Aquino’s term, many of the recently-inaugurated projects by the Duterte government were actually initiated by the previous administration under its flagship Public-Private Partnership.

These include the Skyway Stage 3 project, the LRT-2 Extension, the North Luzon-South Luzon Expressway Connector, bridges and domestic airports, among others. The Official Gazette also published a list of infrastructure projects approved under the Aquino administration and expected to be completed under Duterte’s term.

The misleading ‘legacy’ graphic spread a few days after it was announced that the CCLEX is nearing its completion after nearly four years of construction. The 8.9-kilometer bridge will be the longest bridge in the country.

The meme was shared by several FB pages: Federal Philippines (created on May 24, 2016), JAN Writer (January 10, 2017), DJ Surdo Online Radio (June 21, 2019) and Philippine News Update (December 15, 2016). Their posts have garnered a combined total of more than 22,800 reactions, 1,700 comments and 5,800 shares.


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