​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Site claiming ‘acres’ of coral reefs found in Manila Bay MISLEADS

A May 18 story by website claiming “acres” of marine plants and several fish species were found in Manila Bay because of President Rodrigo Duterte’s cleanup initiative is misleading.

Bearing the headline, “Panoorin: Dahil sa Paglilinis ng Manila Bay, Ekta-ektaryang Yamang Dagat, Natagpuan! (Watch: Because of Manila Bay cleanup, hectares of marine resources, found!),” the report invited netizens to watch an April 30 news package by state-run broadcaster People’s Television Network (PTV) it had embedded to the story. wrongly credited the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)’s recent discovery of over 200 “acres” of marine resources in Cavite, Corregidor, and Caballo Island to the Manila Bay rehabilitation effort.

The PTV report, which indeed talked about DENR finding “high-value” fishes and over 200 hectares of sea grass and coral reefs, did not attribute the discovery to Duterte’s cleanup efforts.

Several news reports, including the PTV report used by, and a DENR press release show that the existence of thriving ecosystems in Manila Bay’s polluted waters was a finding of DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, which was conducting an inventory of coral communities in parts of Manila Bay in Cavite and Bataan.

The misleading report was published the same day DENR called on newly-proclaimed local government officials within the area of Manila Bay to cooperate with the inter-agency task force in charge of the cleanups.

The misleading story could have reached over 2.7 million people. Top traffic generators from social media are PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE -FEDERAL MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL, Duterte, atin to Pre, and MARCOS LOYALIST. has been publishing stories since July 6, 2017. It previously published another misleading story, which VERA Files Fact Check debunked in November last year.

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