‘Open 24 hours’: MRT ISCP meme triggers misinformation concern

August 11, 2022 - 4:00 PM
Passengers wearing masks for protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) queue to ride a train while others exit at a station in Manila, Philippines, April 4, 2022. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

Several pages including a government’s Facebook page hopped in on the trend started by satire-meme page International State College of the Philippines (ISCP).

The fictional school has been posting legitimate-looking publication materials to make it appear that it is an existing university.

On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) MRT 3 posted a meme jumping in on the trend. The post  shows a train that operates 24 hours with a route supposedly bound for the fictional school ISCP.

READ: What is International State College of the Philippines and why is it trending?

“We are back on track! Kami ang dakilang service niyo papunta International State College of the Philippines (ISCP). Forda travel na ang mga students!” the caption reads. 

Many found the post hilarious. It has since garnered more than 12,000 laugh reactions, over 600 comments, and around 2,600 shares as of writing. 

Meanwhile, the comment section was filled with banters. 

“Yep! May biyahe din po sila tuwing hatinggabi, papuntang Biringan Campus. Salamat MRT3 🤗” a Facebook user said in  jest. 

Another Facebook user, on the other hand, disagreed and jokingly said, they use tikbalang and mananagal as their means of transportation going to the campus in the fictional town of Biringan. 

“Here at ISCP, we teach the most efficient way to travel. The driver can type CHITTYCHITTYBB on train controls to unlock the flight. Enjoy your ride to the moon campus,” the ISCP said in the comment section. 

DOTr MRT-3 jokingly replied that the trains also travel at the speed of light and offers free rides for ISCP’s students. 

Misinformation concern

While others found the MRT 3’s ISCP meme funny, some raised concern on how the post could misinform the public. 

“As @VinceNonato points out, government agencies sharing memes risk people actually believing they’re legitimate announcements (or raising hopes for trains actually running 24/7),” Philstar.com news editor Jonathan de Santos said in a tweet

“I know you wanted traction, but please, as a gov’t agency, you should not legitimize memes. This is careless social media management,” an online user said

“Ok lang yan ang memes and all, but sana naman, if govt official page, medyo mag-draw na tayo ng line, ano?,” a Twitter user said

“Official page ‘to ng MRT tas ganiyan post. E kung may maniwala po, masisisi niyo ba lalo at ang hirap makahanap ng masasakyan disoras ng gabi?” a Facebook user said

“Not DoTr MRT-3 official Facebook page jumping on the ISCP bandwagon, posting about 24 hours na byahe and then gaslighting anyone who would believe it,” an online user said

In the post’s comment section, the DOTr MRT 3’s page administrator wrote, “Kapag may pumatol, alam niyo na. Dili na lang magtalk,” with a laughing emoji and face with open eyes and hand over mouth emoji. 

A Twitter user said he doesn’t mind if the government’s Facebook page posts memes as long as they maintain professionalism online. 

He also said that there should always be a disclaimer in the post. 

Demand for better service

Aside from drawing mixed reactions from the public, the post also sparked a discussion demanding better service from the train system. 

“Luh nakiki-trendjack gawin niyo nga sa totoong buhay para naman ma- improve nang konti yung public transport system natin,” an online user wrote

READ: DOTr says sorry to inconvenienced MRT passengers amid reports of long queues

Before joining the meme trend, a Facebook user said that MRT 3 should fix their trains first. 

An online user suggested having more security personnel checking the passengers and bags. 

Meanwhile, others demanded a 24-hour service operation from MRT 3. 

“Sana mag karoon nga totoo ng 24 hours kaming mga nag wo-work pang gabi nahihirapan umuwi. Mga bayaning puyat,” a Facebook user said

Another online user also hoped MRT would be available as early as 3 a.m. He cited the struggle of finding means of transportation for those who need to report to work early.

The first trip from North Avenue station is at 4:38 a.m., while the Taft Avenue station starts operating at 5:19 a.m.  

North Avenue Station’s last trip is slated at 9:30 p.m., and 10:09 p.m. on Taft Avenue Station.