VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Quote card of ‘Iska’ on ROTC is NOT TRUE

Several Facebook (FB) groups and pages are spreading a fabricated remark attributed to a “University of the Philippines (UP) student” on the proposed revival of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. The fake quote first appeared on a satirical FB page.

The quote card initially came out on July 28 and featured the alleged comment of a female UP student named “Kelly Trinidad.” It read: “Ayoko sumabak sa gera. Baka ipadala pa ako sa Ukraine (I don’t want to go to war. I might be deployed to Ukraine).”

Some of the FB posts presented the graphic as fact, with one of the captions reading: “Ayon sa Iskolar ng U.P, ang mandatory ROTC ay para sumabak sa gyera. Ganyan ang kanilang pagkaintindi sa ROTC (According to a UP scholar, the mandatory ROTC means going to war. That is how they understand the ROTC).”

However, explicitly stated at the bottom of the fabricated graphic is the phrase “NEWS YOU CAN’T TRUST,” indicating it is not real.

The original source of the graphic is satirical FB page Philippine Daily New Society. It was published a few hours before other FB groups and pages reposted it. The FB page has a disclaimer in its About section stating that it was created “for satire, parody, and entertainment purposes only” and was “not a source of factual information.”

The image of the female student featured in the fake graphic is traceable via reverse image search to a stock photo of a young, unidentified woman, taken in November 2012 by photographer Mark Butler. 

Still, netizens were deceived and thought it was true. Some called the student “shallow,” while others questioned the kind of students UP was accepting into the university.

The made-up graphic appeared a day after a Pulse Asia survey, conducted June 24 to 27 and commissioned by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, revealed that 69% of Filipinos favor the revival of the mandatory ROTC for senior high school students.

At least 29 FB groups and pages reposted the satirical graphic and received more than 24,900 interactions, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Its top traffic generators are FB pages DU30 MEDIA Network (created on June 9, 2016), SARA DU30 Supporters for 2022 (Jan. 8, 2020) and BBM Unified Allies (Dec. 11, 2021).

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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.)