Jay Sonza’s photo of Manila Bay ‘white sand’ was manipulated and earlier fact-checked

February 4, 2021 - 3:40 PM
In this Sept. 19, 2020 photo, DENR and other officials lead the opening of Manila Bay “white sand beach” along Roxas Boulevard in Manila in celebration of the International Coastal Cleanup Day. (The STAR/KJ Rosales)

Former broadcaster Jay Sonza used a manipulated photo that has been previously fact-checked in his recent Facebook post on Manila Bay‘s artificial white sand beach.

Sonza in a now-deleted post on Sunday shared a photo that featured the stretch of the shoreline along Roxas Boulevard.

The artificial white sand was seen to extend all the way from the fence of the United States Embassy to the Manila Yacht Club breakwater.

“Kapag hindi na bawal lumabas ang mga bata o menor de edad, ipapasyal.ko (sic) rito ang aking mga apo. Manila Bay Beach Front. Roxas Boulevard, Manila,” Sonza wrote.

The post is no longer available on his Facebook account but some pages have taken screenshots of it.


VERA Files did a fact-check and noted that Sonza revived a manipulated photo of the Manila Bay white sand project.

It said that the original photo, which was posted by Facebook user Lester Calara Hezeta in September 2020, did not feature an extended shoreline at all.

“The actual dolomite beachfront was less than half the width and length of what was shown in the manipulated image,” part of the fact-checking organization’s report said.


“To make it appear like the man-made beach currently covers a longer and wider area, white sand was digitally added along the shoreline in the photo. Elements present in the original picture, such as a sea vessel, two excavators, and floating booms, were removed,” VERA Files added.

It also said that the contrast of the photo was “increased to make the sky look bluer and the trees greener.”

“Sonza’s image is a cropped version of the pictures previously debunked by VERA Files, Rappler, and AFP. Its most recent iteration prior to the former broadcaster’s post was from a Jan. 18 upload by FB page DU30 MEDIA Network,” the report continued.

Former PTV-4 employee Jules Guiang also shared Sonza’s Facebook post and quipped that the latter was spreading “fake news” again.

On Wednesday, Sonza responded to those who fact-checked his post and claimed that he only expressed his wish to bring his grandchildren to Manila Bay after the coronavirus pandemic.

“Hindi ko sinabing ubod ng ganda ng picture na kalakip. Bakit kayo masyadong affected?” he wrote on Facebook.

It was not the first time that the former newscaster spread questionable posts on social media.

Last year, actress Julia Barretto filed a complaint against Sonza at the National Bureau of Investigation after he posted on Facebook a claim that the former is “pregnant” with Gerald Anderson‘s child.

Barretto immediately denied the allegations and said that it is “fake news” and shared a picture of her with toned abs.

The P389-million Manila Bay rehabilitation project gained controversy last year after lawmakers questioned its safety and sustainability.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo, the apostolic administrator of the Manila Archdiocese, likewise said that the funds could’ve been better spent to aid Filipinos struggling amid a public health crisis.

The rehabilitation project, according to the Palace, was proposed three years ago and was included in 2019’s budget. The initiative was only implemented in September last year.