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Fact check: Robredo's Bayanihan E-Konsulta does not gather voter data

Philstar.com
Fact check: Robredo's Bayanihan E-Konsulta does not gather voter data
Photo shows Vice President Leni Robredo.
Office of the Vice President

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo shut down disinformation circulating on social media that her office’s free teleconsultation service, Bayanihan E-Konsulta, is gathering voter’s information.

CLAIM: Bayanihan E-Konsulta supposedly collects personal information of voters, including their precinct number.

RATING: This is false.

FACTS:

What the posts said

Social media account "Francis Clairvaux" posted over the weekend on Facebook warning that the teleconsultation service of a certain “Madumb” “is just gathering personal information [of] voters.”

This was shared on Twitter by user @BosyoJ, who claimed that the teleconsultation service also asks for precinct numbers.

“Madumb” is an insult used by critics of the vice president to refer to her. 

What the posts left out

In a briefing Tuesday, Robredo said her office’s teleconsultation service only collects pertinent information such as address, contact number, symptoms and medical records from callers. Such information will be used by doctors to give prescriptions.

“‘Yung precinct number, hindi ‘yun tinatanong kasi hindi naman ‘yun relevant data,” Robredo said.

(We don’t ask for their precinct number because that’s not relevant.)

“Pag may nagre-register nga sa amin, hindi naman namin tinatanong kung ano ‘yung political affiliation. Hindi naman namin tinatanong kung sino ba ‘yung iboboto nila sa susunod na eleksyon,” she added.

(We don’t ask those who register to avail our service about their political affiliation. We don’t ask about the candidates they will vote for in the elections.)

People who have used the Bayanihan E-Konsulta also testified online that they were not asked for other information, like their precinct number.

 

 

 

Essential context

Robredo said it is unfair that her office's initiative, which has provided assistance to thousands of COVID-19 patients and has tapped the service of volunteer doctors and non-medical personnel, is being discredited through disinformation. 

“Siguro nararamdaman nila na nakakatulong talaga 'yung Bayanihan E-Konsulta so gusto nilang i-discredit. 'Yung sa akin lang, gawa sila ng mas magandang programa,” the vice president said. 

(Maybe they're feeling that Bayanihan E-Konsulta has been helping, so they want to discredit it. For me, they should just put up a program that is better.)

The teleconsultation service was launched on April 2021, months before she declared her intention to run for president in the 2022 polls. 

The program is feeling the impact of the fresh COVID-19 surge, fueled by Omicron variant. Robredo said they decided to put a cap of 400 patients a day for consulations as volunteers are also getting sick.

“So talagang stretched masyado 'yung tao natin, ayaw naman natin na 'yung nagre-register umaasang maaasikaso tapos naghihintay ng matagal, hindi naasikaso,” she said. 

(We really are stretched and we don't want to make people register and make them wait for a long time without attending to them)

Robredo, the de facto leader of the opposition, has been the target of disinformation by accounts supportive of the Duterte administration and her political rival, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on social media. 

Posts claiming that the Commission on Elections had disqualified Robredo from the May polls, that the vice president had photos of herself selling fish, and that her supporters violated health protocols at a rally have circulated on social media. These are not true.

Why did we fact check it?

Before it was taken down, the false Facebook post received 117 reactions and 84 shares, while the false tweet has been retweeted 21 times and liked 53 times. The tweet also gained 190 quote tweets, most of which debunking the claim.

Although the false claim did not gain much traction, we are fact-checking it because the false claims may discourage people in need from seeking help through the teleconsultation program. 

Misinformation on social media can sometimes mean life and death as it can hamper access to a free and essential medical service, which is desperately needed as coronavirus infections reach unprecendented highs. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with a report from Xave Gregorio

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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

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here.

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

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

FACT CHECK

LENI ROBREDO

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