‘Fake news alert’: Circulating photo of Robredo’s Naga Revetment Project taken in 2016

November 5, 2020 - 8:13 PM
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In this Nov. 3, 2020 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo visits Tiwi, Albay following the onslaught of tropical cyclone Rolly. (Leni Robredo/Facebook)

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo clarified that social media posts circulating online using an old photo of an infrastructure project in Camarines Sur is false and misleading.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Robredo shared a screenshot of a news item that featured the old photo of the Naga Revetment Project in Naga, Camarines Sur, the vice president’s hometown.

This barricade was Robredo’s pet project back when she was still a representative of Camarines Sur.

It bore the logo of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the headline: “Robredo urges local governments to invest in flood control infrastructure.”

PDI published an article with the similar headline on November 2 but the publication did not attach any photo. Its social media thumbnail, however, only included a photo of Robredo but not the Naga Revetment project.

“FAKE NEWS ALERT! Ang litrato na ikinabit sa headline ng isang report ng Philippine Daily Inquirer nitong November 2 ay kuha pa noong 2016,” the vice president said.

“Pinapakita nito ang pagguho ng bahagi ng Naga Revetment Project, na agad namang naipaayos at maayos pa rin hanggang ngayon, matapos dumaan ang Super Typhoon #RollyPH,” she added.

Cursory check showed that the photo of the Naga River revetment was contained in reports of local publications Bicol Standard and Manila Bulletin four years ago.

Robredo also expressed disappointment over disinformation even in times of crisis such as the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rolly.

“Nakakalungkot na sa panahon ng sakuna at sa gitna ng paghihirap ng mga kababayan nating naapektuhan ng bagyo ay mayroon pa ring mga taong piniling magpakalat ng fake news,” she said.

The similar post, flagged by Robredo as “fake news,” also recently made rounds among her critics and vocal supporters of the Duterte administration.

One of the false posts was uploaded by a certain Benjie Daisy Contreras. The Facebook user juxtaposed the old news on the Naga Revetment project to a screenshot of CNN Philippines’ recent social media card on Robredo pushing for better infrastructures.

This was later re-shared by the Facebook page Mocha Uson Blog, which has millions of followers.

“Ano po masasabi niyo mga Ka DDS?” the caption read.

Robredo’s advise to reduce floods

In the original report, Robredo encouraged local government units to invest in flood control infrastructures such as a drainage and a seawall to help reduce the damage of strong typhoons.

“This remains my No. 1 frustration. It cannot be that every time disaster strikes, planning remains at each individual city or municipal level. It has to be contiguous and simultaneous, with other local governments because the experience of one will be the experience of all,” she said in her weekly radio show.

Robredo also hoped that barangays will no longer designate one-story schools as evacuation centers, particularly in low-lying areas that are prone to floods.

Last Monday, following the onslaught of “Rolly,” the vice president and her team conducted relief operations in the Bicol region. Her team also went to Catanduanes, which was among the hardest hit provinces and perceived as the most neglected by the government during natural disasters.

The Office of the Vice President’s partner organization Kaya Natin Movement also managed to raise P4 million in relief funds for the typhoon victims in Luzon as of Thursday, November 5.