VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post comparing Manila Bay rehab budget to multiple gov’t projects NEEDS CONTEXT

Facebook (FB) page VOVph posted on Sept. 5 an image with misleading budget figures of the on-going Manila Bay rehabilitation and recent government projects.

The post stated the Manila Bay clean-up and rehabilitation program costs “P397 million," and the following Aquino administration projects as having these price tags: "P295 million" for the Kayo ang Boss Ko toilet project, "P12 million" for a collapsed wooden footbridge in Zamboanga, and "P250 million" for the Labo Bypass Road Project.

These figures are inaccurate and need context.

Manila Bay clean-up, rehabilitation

Multiple news reports say Manila Bay’s ”beach nourishment” program, which aims to rehabilitate part of Manila Bay with artificial white sand, costs P389 million and not P397 million.

But the whole program actually has a much larger budget. For this year alone, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was allotted P1.3 billion from the General Appropriations Act to implement the Manila Bay Coastal Management Strategy.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda previously said the program may take up to seven years to finish, and was given a P47-billion budget by the Duterte administration.

The Manila Bay photo used in the post is from a Sept. 3 ABS-CBN report about the dumping of crushed dolomite in the bay.

Kayo ang Boss Ko Toilet

On the other hand, the photo showing three toilets without dividers in VOVph’s post needs context.

The “weird” comfort room was one of several facilities constructed under former President Benigno Aquino III’s P295-million program launched in 2012 meant to build 1,000 toilets for the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies. A state audit in 2017 found that the project was unfinished and that its inventories were unsubmitted.

The image used in VOV.ph’s post was a thumbnail grabbed from an Aug. 3, 2018 report by ABS-CBN on the 3-in-1 toilets.

Zamboanga wooden footbridge

The claim about “P12 million” being the price tag for a collapsed wooden footbridge in Zamboanga likewise needs context. This amount was the cost of the whole two-kilometer footbridge, and not only the portion that collapsed while government officials were standing on it during an inspection of a housing project in April 2018.

The picture of people who had fallen from the footbridge was first uploaded in an Apr. 27, 2018 The Philippine Star article. The picture of the empty walkway was from an ABS-CBN report the same day.

Labo Bypass Road Project

An April 2018 post on the FB page of the GMA Public Affairs show Investigative Documentaries supports VOVph’s claim that the Labo Bypass Road project in Camarines Norte was allocated P250 million. The photo of the bypass road in VOVph was also taken from the program's FB post.

Construction of the road began in February 2012 under Aquino but it progressed very slowly for over six years, according to the GMA documentary on the project. It was continued under the Duterte administration.

According to a Jan. 24 press release from the Department of Public Works and Highways, less than two kilometers of the 5.16-kilometer road is unfinished. The project now costs P683 million.

The misleading collage of government projects was shared after environment groups, politicians, and a bishop raised concerns over DENR’s dumping of crushed dolomite on Manila Bay as part of rehabilitation efforts.

VOVph’s upload has received over 1,100 interactions. FB page No to Liberal Party also re-uploaded the post, which has now gained over 9,200 interactions. According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, the posts’ top traffic generators are public FB groups MARCOS PA RIN and Mindavote Community.

VOVph was created in June 2016, while No to Liberal Party was created in July 2015.


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

FOR FURTHER READING

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