VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Facebook post uses fake photos to prop up Duterte gov’t

Facebook page Philippine Shocking History posted a manipulated before-and-after collage of a Manila estuary to falsely show that the Duterte administration is better than the previous Aquino administration.


On June 1, the page posted two photos placed side by side: the first, labeled “BEFORE,” showing an inlet canal full of garbage, and the second, labeled “AFTER,” showing the same canal already cleaned.

The collage bore the caption:

Estero De Binondo Manila Comparison
TUWID na DAAN 2011 to 2015
(Binondo, Manila estuary comparison: Straight Path 2011 to 2015 vs Iron Hand 2018)

Tuwid na daan (Straight path)” was the slogan of the Benigno Simeon Aquino III administration.

Kamay na bakal (iron hand)” refers to an overbearing or autocratic leadership mode, and has been used to describe the Duterte administration.


A reverse image search shows both photos were actually from February 2018, contrary to Philippine Shocking History’s claim.

The first photo is from a Feb. 12 Facebook post by freelance photographer Sidney Snoeck:

Snoeck’s photo, which he took during a Binondo outreach project three days prior to posting, went viral and was shared over 19,000 times on social media, prompting the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission (PRRC) to conduct cleanup operations, the commission told VERA Files.

The second photo is from a Feb. 15 Facebook post by Binondo resident Stephen John Agbayani Pamorada. Pamorada said he posted the photo online 15 minutes after he took it, on the third and last day of PRRC’s cleanup.

Philippine Shocking History was created in 2014.

Its post, which was shared 3,757 times and could have reached 1.5 million users, was made two weeks after Duterte-formed Philippine Anti-Corruption Commission revealed it is investigating three multibillion-peso anomalies committed under the Aquino administration.


ABS-CBN News, “Duterte’s anti-corruption body probes alleged anomalies in 3 Aquino gov’t projects,” May 17, 2018

Business World, “PACC looking into multi-billion peso anomalies from Aquino administration,” May 17, 2018

Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, personal correspondence, June 14, 2018

Philippine News Agency, “PACC: Smuggling in NAIA possibly used to fund terror groups,” May 17, 2018

Sidney Snoeck, Facebook post, February 12, 2018

Sidney Snoeck, Facebook album, February 12, 2018

Sidney Snoeck, personal correspondence, June 14, 2018

Stephen John Agbayani Pamorada, Facebook post, February 15, 2018

Stephen John Agbayani Pamorada, personal correspondence, June 13, 2018

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)