Screenshot of the Nov. 2 Tutok Erwin Tulfo Weekend Edition

​VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Tutok Erwin Tulfo mistakes gov't airport projects for new airports

Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo, in his news and public affairs program, claimed nearly 200 new airports would have been built by the time President Rodrigo Duterte finishes his term of office. Wrong.

Tulfo’s pronouncement is an erroneous interpretation on the number of completed and on-going airport projects in the government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

The report has become the basis of a misleading story going viral on social media, published by an online network with a history of producing false information.

STATEMENT

On the Nov. 2 episode of his program Tutok Erwin Tulfo Weekend Edition, Tulfo presented its report on the start of the construction of Bukidnon’s first airport in Don Carlos, a first class municipality. In the introduction, he said:

Simula nang maupo sa puwesto si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, aabot na sa mahigit 60 paliparan ang naipagawa habang mahigit 100 naman ang ginagawa pa at gagawin pa sa ilalim pa rin ng Build, Build, Build program ng pamahalaan. Ang halos 200 bagong paliparan inaasahang mapapakinabangan na ng publiko sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa bago bumaba si Pangulong Duterte sa 2022.

(Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, over 60 airports have been built while over 100 are still under construction or will be constructed under the government’s Build, Build, Build program. These almost 200 new airports are expected to benefit the public in different parts of the country before President Duterte steps down in 2022).”

Source: Erwin Tulfo official YouTube page, ANG KAUNA-UNAHANG PALIPARAN NA ITATAYO SA BUKIDNON, Nov. 2, 2019, watch from 0:01 to 0:32

The video, first posted Nov. 2 on both Tulfo’s official Facebook and YouTube pages, had been originally captioned with “no president in history would have built 200 new international and domestic airports” by the time he steps down, except Duterte.

FACT

Data from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) show that under the Build, Build, Build program, there are now 64 completed and 133 ongoing airport projects, not new airports.

In an interview with VERA Files, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Libiran explained that airport projects include any work done in an airport:

“That includes runway extension, building of a new passenger terminal building, night rating. Iyong mga ganoon. So puwedeng sa isang airport, may tatlong project or dalawa (Things like that. It’s possible to have three or two projects in just one airport).”

Source: Interview with DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Libiran, Nov. 13, 2019

There are currently only 88 airports in the country, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which “operates and maintains national airports, air navigation and other similar facilities.”

These are:

  • 11 international airports used for international flights;
  • 14 principal class 1 airports for domestic flights with over 100 passengers;
  • 19 principal class 2 airports for domestic flights with below 100 but over 19 passengers;
  • 42 community airports used for general aviation; and
  • two new airports not yet classified.

The P9 trillion Build, Build, Build infrastructure program are various projects from “complex road networks, long-span bridges, flood control and urban water systems, (to) public transport, port, airport, and railway investments,” including those started during previous administrations, some as far as back as the Ramos presidency.

In a July 9 press release, DOTr reported the Duterte administration had completed the construction of “two new international airports.” These were the Lal-Lo International Airport, which was inaugurated in March 2018 with an upgraded runway for bigger aircraft, and the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, which started its feasibility study in 2000 and the construction in 2015 before it was finally inaugurated in November 2018.

On Sept. 12, DOTr said in another release that two new airports in Bicol and Bulacan are now “being constructed and developed.” The agency will also inaugurate the newly-renovated Sangley Airport in Cavite after it had an operational dry run in October, in compliance with Duterte’s order to use it for general aviation and cargo operations to “help ease air traffic” at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Tulfo’s wrong report has been reposted, with one netizen applauding the “200 airports 60 airports” that were “done already within 3 years!” The report has been viewed over 112,000 times on YouTube.

Website FILIPIKNOW TIMES, also published an article with a false headline saying the Duterte administration has built “200 internation (sic) at (and) domestic airport (sic)” and made use of the Tutok Erwin Tulfo caption as the body of its write-up. It also embedded the show’s already deleted Facebook video. FILIPIKNOW TIMES’ false article could have reached more than 841,000 social media users and been shared by at least 36 Facebook pages and groups.

This website has the same Google AdSense code (ca-pub-5268733337890276) as pinolitika.com, a now expired domain which has a history of sharing false and misleading write-ups.



Sources:

Erwin Tulfo official Facebook page, TUTOK ERWIN TULFO RELOAD | ANG KAUNA-UNAHANG PALIPARAN NA ITATAYO SA BUKIDNON, Nov. 2, 2019

Erwin Tulfo official Youtube channel, ANG KAUNA-UNAHANG PALIPARAN NA ITATAYO SA BUKIDNON, Nov. 1, 2019

Official Gazette, Republic Act 9497

Interview with Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Libiran, Nov. 14, 2019

Interview with Department of Transportation Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs Goddes Libiran, Nov. 22, 2019

Department of Trade and Industry, Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index-Don Carlos

Department of Transportation official Facebook page, AN OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON, Nov. 14, 2019

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines' response to VERA Files' query on the Freedom of Information portal, Nov. 19, 2019

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Mandates and Functions

Department of Transportation, BOHOL-PANGLAO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT INAUGURATED, REPLACES TAGBILARAN AIRPORT, Nov. 28, 2018

Department of Transportation, DOTR-CAAP INAUGURATES IMPROVED PASSENGER TERMINAL AT TUGUEGARAO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, March 14, 2018

Department of Transportation-Philippines, Dear Senator Poe, Sept. 12, 2019

Freedom of Information portal, Location of Airports, March 10, 2017

FILIPIKNOW TIMES, MAKA-SAYSAYAN ANG GINAWA SA PILIPINAS! DUTERTE ADMIN. NAKAPAGPATAYO NG 200 INTERNATION AT DOMESTIC AIRPORT.

Official Gazette, Aquino Administration projects to be completed during the next administration

Presidential Communications Operations Office, THE PRESIDENT'S MID-TERM REPORT TO THE PEOPLE 2016-2019, 2019

National Economic Development Authority, 19 Accelerating Infrastructure Development


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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