Fact check: Revived 'disente' vs 'bastos' time of Pasig River


CLAIM: A composite photo showing Pasig River filled with trash during the time of the late President Benigno Aquino III and another with clean waters under the time of President Rodrigo Duterte is again making rounds on social media.

RATING: The post contains false claim.


What was said:

Facebook page Real Talk, discussion matters posted the composite photo. The top part shows a body of water filled with garbage, superimposed with a photo of Aquino and labelled “Ilog Pasig Disente Time.”

The bottom part of the composite photo had Duterte superimposed on a clean river. Written on it is “Ilog Pasig Bastos Time.”

The Facebook page, with 35,000 followers, identifies itself as blogger. Blogger Maharlika also reposted it.

Screengrab by Philstar.com, October 28, 11:05 a.m.

What the post left out:

 A reverse Google image search showed that the photo tagged to be Pasig River during the time of Aquino was actually showing the San Juan River in Mandaluyong City in 2018, or when Duterte was president.

The photo was taken by a photographer of The Philippine Star and was posted on its Facebook page on April 19, 2018.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Trash collectors have their hands full combing through a sea of garbage that has been mindlessly dumped into the lifeless San Juan River, Mandaluyong City,” the caption read.

A reverse Google image search photo showing Pasig River during Duterte’s term meanwhile led to a lead photo used by a media website. The Pasig River Rehabilitation Facebook page is credited as the owner of the photo, as written at the bottom left corner of the image.

A cursory check on the Facebook page of the PRRC showed that it was posted on Oct. 1, 2018.

Essential context

Disente (decent) has been associated with Aquino and the Liberal Party. While Vice President Leni Robredo filed her certificate of candidacy for president as an independent candidate, she remains as chairperson of LP. She picked Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, party president, as her vice president.

Duterte’s PDP-Laban is fielding Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa as presidential bet, and Sen. Bong Go as vice president.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is being pressed to run but she has so far filed her COC for reelection. She however met with former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is facing off with Robredo in the presidential polls, last weekend.

Duterte ordered the abolition of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in 2019. The order came after called on Congress to abolish the body as it no longer has a function to perform as there "is nothing to clean in the Pasig River."

On Nov. 8, 2019 Duterte signed Executive Order 83 abolishing the PRRC and transferring its powers to the Manila Bay Task Force, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Department of Public Works and Highways.

The Facebook page of PRRC was changed to Pasig River Coordinating and Management Office, under the Department of Environment and National Resources, in March 2020.

A statement from the Laguna Lake Development Authority said PRCMO is an office from the DENR “assisting them in reviving the Pasig River.”

Why this matters:

The original post has 4,200 shares, 201 comments and 2,300 reactions.

One of those who reposted it is Maharlika, who also identifies as a blogger. Her page has more than 865,000 followers. Her repost on Wednesday has been shared over 2,600 times. It also has fetched 1,200 comments and 16,000 reactions.

Maharlika’s repost landed on Philstar.com’s monitoring via Crowdtangle.

The Google reverse image search also showed that a similar post shared by pro-Duterte pages made rounds in July 2020. The post was fact-checked by FactRakers.

Screengrab by Philstar.com, October 28, 11:00 a.m.

Although already fact-checked before, the post is again making rounds as the 2022 campaign season nears. The original Facebook post had an attached hashtag #MarcosDuterte2022.

The post might influence voters weighing in on the candidates associated with Aquino and Duterte.

What kind of misinformation is this?

The post is an example of false claims.

This classification of misinformation includes posts that can make use of genuine statements and media but are used to push a false narrative. — Kristine Joy Patag

This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected]





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