VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Image ALTERED to show ‘Run Sara Run’ tarp on vehicle in Marawi City

A manipulated photo of an SUV flaunting a “Run Sara Run” banner as it drove through war-torn Marawi City is circulating on social media. Superimposed on it is text that reads, “Nauna pa mga tarpaulin kesa sa rehabilitation mg Marawi (sic) (Tarpaulins prioritized over Marawi’s rehabilitation).”

A reverse image search, however, revealed that the original copy of the photo showing a convoy was taken over three years ago. There was no tarpaulin attached to the vehicle’s bumper.

The image is traceable to stock photos website Alamy, which stated that it was a Malacañang photo shot on Oct. 2, 2017 and showed a motorcade of President Rodrigo Duterte as it drove “through the destruction of downtown Marawi City.”

The same picture was carried in reports a few days later by GMA News Online, Rappler and The Guardian. The photo was credited to either Malacañang or the “PPD,” which stands for Presidential Photographers Division. GMA and Rappler added that the photo was taken during Duterte’s sixth visit to the southern Philippine city.

In May 2017, a series of armed clashes erupted between state forces and the Islamist Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, ultimately leading to what is known as the five-month-long Marawi siege. The crisis officially ended with the deaths of Omar Maute and former Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon in October the same year. The fighting resulted in the deaths of more than 160 soldiers and police and dozens of civilians, the destruction of the city and the displacement of most of its population.

The latest update from the government about the war-torn city puts its rehabilitation status at 40 percent complete.

The manipulated image started circulating among netizens on Feb. 26, a day after a number of supporters of Davao City Mayor “Inday” Sara Duterte-Carpio held a motorcade along EDSA, calling on her to run for president in 2022.

This is despite the presidential daughter’s repeated pronouncements that she has no plans of running for the country’s top post, as well as her disapproval of tarpaulins, posters, and motorcades promoting the “Run Sara Run” movement.

VERA Files Fact Check has flagged 23 Facebook (FB) posts carrying the altered image, the most recent of which was uploaded on March 6. Three were published in public groups Opinyon Publico, Oust Duterte Movement (ODM), and Amazing Leni Robredo, while seven were posted by pages Madam Aguida & Sarkastiko Tasyo – Writing in Tandem #EJK4fanatics, iDefendPH, Knights Of Democracy, Piping Turjak 5.0, Laban ng Pilipino, Laban sa Baliw na Pangulo, Kaya Di Umuunlad Pilipinas, and Kwento mo sa Pagong. The rest were posted by private FB users.

The 23 posts collectively received over 1,400 reactions, 450 comments, and 650 shares from FB users, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle.

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