VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB page’s Metro Manila subway 'update' FALSELY uses photo of old, Canadian tunnel project

A pro-Duterte Facebook (FB) page falsely used a 14-year-old image of a tunnel project in Canada in a recent post purporting to give an update on the Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP).

FB page Duterte Unite PH uploaded on March 13 a screengrab of another netizen’s fake post carrying an image of a tunnel boring machine and the caption, “PTPA,, Manila Subway project update!!!! S pnhon lng ni tatay degzz nngyyri to!!! D m mashare dilawan k ksi (This is happening only during the time of Father Duterte!!! You can’t share because you’re yellow)!!!”

PTPA is a social media shorthand for “permission to post, admin,” while yellow is a colloquial term to describe members or supporters of the opposition Liberal Party.

The photo was actually taken in Queenston town in Ontario, Canada on Aug. 13, 2006, uploaded by the website Thunder Alley (, which publishes content about the country’s popular landmark, the Niagara Falls.

It was of a tunnel boring machine used for the Niagara Falls Tunnel project, meant to boost local hydroelectric power via a 10-kilometer tunnel. According to the website of Robbins Company, which created the boring machine, the Canadian project began in September 2006. The tunnel went into service in 2013.

A look at the Robbins Company website shows they never had a project in the Philippines.

The false post garnered nearly a thousand reactions, with over 500 shares and nearly 100 comments. This came a week after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) posted a photo of a mock-up model of a train station, as a prototype for the country’s first underground rail line.

The MMSP will connect North Caloocan in Bulacan and Dasmariñas in Cavite through Metro Manila, spanning around 36 kilometers. The subway's construction began in February 2019. Its first three stations in Quirino Highway, Tandang Sora, and North Avenue, are expected to be completed by 2022 while the entire project is scheduled for completion by 2025, according to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The online post could have reached more than 2.6 million followers, with Facebook pages - The Philippines News, Filipino Vines, and Makata Serye - as its top traffic generators from social media.

Duterte Unite PH has been up since January 29, 2018 with over 100,000 likes.

(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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