VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video claiming no media coverage of Duterte relief operations after Rolly FALSE

A two-week-old video claiming President Rodrigo Duterte’s aid to victims of Typhoon Rolly (international name: Goni) was not covered by the media—unlike Vice President Leni Robredo’s relief efforts—continues to receive engagements from social media users. It’s false.

YouTube channel Robin Sweet Showbiz uploaded the untrue post on Nov. 8, with the title, “TULONG NI DUTERTE HINDI PINAPALABAS NG MEDIA, PERO KAY LENI KALIWA'T KANAN! PINAPABANGO BA (Help by Duterte not being shown by the media, but Leni's is covered left and right! Are they propping her up)?” Five minutes later, it was re-uploaded on Facebook (FB) by the page PH News Online.

Contrary to the video’s claim, news organizations covered the Duterte administration’s relief operations. Local media also reported on the president’s aerial inspection of the Bicol region and his visit to Guinobatan, Albay on Nov. 2.

To support its false claim, Robin Sweet Showbiz showed 16 photos. Some were from relief operations by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Navy, and Air Force, while others were from Robredo's relief efforts in Camarines Sur. It also featured one photo from Typhoon Haiyan to illustrate relief efforts of the past administration.

The photo of typhoon victims rushing toward a helicopter is a European Pressphoto Agency picture captured by photojournalist Francis R. Malasig on Nov. 16, 2013. It shows a United States Navy Sea Hawk helicopter bearing relief goods landing in Salcedo town, Samar after the devastation of Haiyan.

Five of the pictures showed PCG members loading 60 tons of food packs, bottled water, mosquito nets, and kitchen, hygiene and sleeping kits onto the BRP Gabriela Silang on Nov. 4. The relief effort was reported by the Manila Bulletin, Radyo Inquirer and UNTV Radio.

Two photos of the Philippine Navy bringing relief goods to Sorsogon and Legazpi City aboard the BRP Tausug and BRP Pangasinan were also shown. Radio Mindanao Network came out with a story on it, while Bombo Radyo, SunStar Cebu, and Radyo Inquirer covered BRP Pangasinan as it headed out to the Bicol region.

Radyo Inquirer likewise covered the docking of the PCG’s BRP Malapascua at Legazpi Port on Nov. 5 to send supplies to Catanduanes Port, a photo of which was also shown in Robin Sweet Showbiz’s untrue post. A Manila Standard article also made mention of the effort.

Three images from the Philippine Air Force (PAF)’s Nov. 6 operation to deliver relief goods in Gigmoto, Catanduanes were also shown in the video.

While a cursory search does not show news reports about the exact effort, earlier activities by the PAF to deliver relief goods to the Bicol region through the same team was reported by the Philippine Canadian Inquirer on Nov. 4.

Robredo did visit barangays in Camarines Sur to inspect damage and provide supplies, according to reports from Inquirer.net, Politiko Bicol, and GMA News Online. Photos of Robredo’s operations used in the video came from three different posts from the vice president’s official FB page.

To put Robredo’s efforts in a bad light, the misleading video also read FB posts from former radio personality Jay Sonza and another FB user.

Robin Sweet Showbiz’s erroneous video has around 47,000 views on YouTube, with a total of nearly 1,600 total interactions on Facebook, according to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle. Meanwhile, PH News Online’s reupload was viewed by nearly 74,000 people, with around 4,500 likes, 760 comments and 2,700 shares as of posting.

The false videos surfaced as the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo became trending on Twitter, after netizens questioned the president’s absence during a government briefing onTyphoon Rolly. The same hashtag made headlines again when Typhoon Ulysses hit the country, less than two weeks later.

PH News Online was created last Nov. 6, while Robin Sweet Showbiz was created in July 2017.


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

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