VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Website MISTAKENLY claims bill on planting trees now a ‘law’, a website that believes in “contagiously inspiring stories,”spliced content from three news articles about a tree-planting bill that was passed in the last Congress. But it paraphrased a headline of one of the reports, misleading readers and rendering the report inaccurate.

In an undated post that has recently resurfaced on Facebook, the website, which also offers content in German and Spanish, among others, combined paragraphs from various reports on House Bill 8728 or the "Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act."

These are from: appears to have paraphrased The Independent’s headline and slightly revised subhead. However, it failed to take note of the story’s revised content.

The UK-based group “amended” its story to “make clear that, while the bill has been passed by the House of Representatives, it has not yet been considered or passed by the Philippines Senate (the country’s upper house),nor signed into law by the president,” according to a note at the end of the article.

The bill, passed by the House of Representatives last May, requires students in primary, secondary and tertiary levels to plant at least 10 trees as a prerequisite for graduation. But its counterpart in the Senate was never passed -- it remainedat the committee level. Only bills that pass both chambers of Congress and are transmitted to the Office of the President for signing can become law.

The article has gone viral again and could have already reached more than 1.5 million social media users.

(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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About Vera Files

Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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