In a live video uploaded on July 10, vlogger and social media personality Sass Rogando Sasot inaccurately claimed that the Angat Buhay NGO, founded by former vice president Leni Robredo, took sole credit for relief efforts following a landslide in Ifugao.
Sasot said the NGO did so when it failed to acknowledge the military and local government units working on the ground. The vlogger, an avid supporter of former president Rodrigo Duterte, was reacting to a social media post of Angat Buhay that contained photos of its efforts in Ifugao, and supporters who praised the NGO’s work.
“Pwede naman magtayo ng NGO, pero ‘wag naman po tayo makipagsapawan sa gobyerno kasi meron naman tayong gobyernong gumagalaw. ‘Wag po nating palabasin na ang gobyerno po ay hindi gumagalaw at kayo lang, dahil hindi po totoo ‘yan. Pwedeng tumulong, pero ‘wag po tayong mag-angat ng bangko dahil hindi lang naman kayo ang kumikilos.”
(You can put up an NGO, but don’t overshadow the government because we have a government that functions. Don’t make it look like the government is not working, and only you are because that’s not true. You can help, but don’t blow your own horn because you’re not the only one moving).
Source: For the Motherland – Sass Rogando Sasot Facebook page, Angat Buhay DSWD Issue, July 10, 2022
Contrary to Sasot’s statement, Angat Buhay recognized several groups that joined in its relief efforts such as the Army’s 54th Infantry Magilas Battalion based in Ifugao, which provided logistical support, in a July 9 post on Facebook and Twitter.
The NGO also cited one of its local partners, the Isabela-Quirino Development Council, which handed out food packs and cooked meals for affected families, and thanked other groups that responded to the Ifugao government’s call for help. Angat Buhay wrote:
“We thank our partners in the area for responding to Banaue’s call for help. Ito ang diwa at sentro ng Angat Buhay: bolunterismo ng mga mamamayan, tulungan at bayanihan para matiyak na ligtas ang ating mga kapwa.”
(This is the spirit and center of Angat Buhay: volunteerism, cooperation and unity to ensure the safety of our fellow citizens).
In the same video, Sasot criticized the news organization Inquirer for a social media post on July 10 which appended photos of food packs from the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) to its report about Angat Buhay’s disaster response. Sasot said:
“Ito namang Inquirer, bakit naman ‘yung Angat Buhay ‘yung pinasalamatan ninyo doon sa caption eh malinaw naman na ‘yung mga boxes na naka-feature sa inyo ay DSWD. So Inquirer, ano ba ito? Ito ba’y isang halimbawa ng fake news, Inquirer? Kasi ang linaw-linaw doon sa picture ninyo, DSWD, pero ang nilagay ninyo, Angat Buhay Foundation.”
(And this Inquirer, why did you thank Angat Buhay in your caption when it’s clear that the boxes you featured are from DSWD. So Inquirer, what is this? Is this an example of fake news, Inquirer? Because it’s so clear in your picture, it’s from DSWD, but you put Angat Buhay Foundation).
The photos were taken from Angat Buhay’s social media pages.
Inquirer later updated its story with a clarification from Social Welfare Secretary Erwin Tulfo that the local government unit in Ifugao had placed food packs from different donors in one warehouse before the photos were taken.
Sasot’s Facebook video has reached 118,000 views and 13,000 reactions as of July 21.
Editor’s note: This fact check was produced with the help of a journalism student of the University of the Philippines Diliman as part of their internship at VERA Files.
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For the Motherland – Sass Rogando Sasot Facebook page, “Angat Buhay DSWD Issue” live video, July 10, 2022
Angat Buhay Facebook page, Angat Buhay is currently monitoring events, July 9, 2022
Angat Buhay Twitter account, Angat Buhay is currently monitoring events, July 9, 2022
INQUIRER.net Facebook page, Angat Buhay news report, July 10, 2022
Erwin Tufo Facebook page, PAGLILINAW, July 10, 2022
USAPANG BALITA TV, JUST IN: TULFO RUMESBAK SA ANGAT BUHAY/ ROBREDO SUPLAK KAY MANNY CASTANEDA/ SASS SASOT /TRIXIE CRUZ, July 11, 2022
Palibhasa PINOY TV, SEC ERWIN TULFO NIYARI ang INQUIRER, DSWD ang AYUDA sa ANGAT-BUHAY NAGPASALAMAT/SASS SASOT may BANAT, July 10, 2022
(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.)