FACT CHECK: No, this campaign material does not show an opposition senator taking credit for a Manila Bay cleanup

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 01 2019 04:52 PM

A post that has been shared thousands of times on Facebook purportedly shows an election campaign image from opposition senator Paolo 'Bam' Aquino in which he claims credit for the cleanup of a polluted bay in Manila. 

The image has been doctored from an original campaign poster which said Aquino was the author of a bill reducing the price of fuel.

The post shares what appears to be a campaign poster from Aquino, who is currently seeking a second term as senator, in which he takes credit for the cleanup of Manila Bay.

In January 2019, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the cleanup of the bay, which has suffered from pollution and poor water quality. 

Below is a screenshot of the misleading post:

Screenshot of Facebook post

The post’s status, when translated to English, says: Scrap food boy is at it again. You take credit for everything, it’s creepy what you're doing. In 2030, the name of the country may not be the Philippines anymore my fellow DDS. But Paolo Bam Aquino already. #OtsoDiretsoZero #Don'tBeStupid #NeverAgaintoLiberalParty

The text in on the purported campaign material says: SAVE MANILA BAY. Sen. Bam Aquino is fighting for this. Sen. Bam Aquino. He pushed for the Manila Bay cleanup #SupportBam

Aquino is referred to as “Scrap food boy” by his critics after he filed a bill which requires food-related companies to donate excess food to food banks. 

He is seeking another term as a senator and is a member of the Liberal Party, the main opposition party in the Philippines.

DDS refers to Diehard Duterte Supporters.

A reverse image search of the photo in the misleading Facebook post traced it back to this Twitter post with the hashtag #bam2019.

AFP searched for a copy of the photo on Aquino’s official Twitter account @bamaquino and found this tweet dated October 18, 2018:

The tweet contains a series of campaign posters with the #SupportBam hashtag.

Here is the original photo:

Screenshot of tweet

The text on the original photo says: Reduced price of fuel. Sen. Bam Aquino is fighting for this. Sen. Bam Aquino. Author of the Lower Price Bill. #Support Bam

In September 2018, Aquino filed a bill seeking the suspension of the excise tax on fuel.

A search of Aquino’s official website found no posts in which he had referred to the Manila Bay cleanup.

Here is the screenshot for the search results:

Screenshot of search results

A search of his official Facebook account, as well as his official Instagram account, also uncovered no campaign material on the Manila Bay cleanup.

The original campaign poster on lowering fuel prices is also available on his official Facebook account:

Screenshot of Facebook post

A spokesperson from Aquino's office told AFP that they had not produced or issued the campaign material in which Aquino supposedly claimed credit for the Manila Bay cleanup.

“No. It was an edited version of one of our official posters that we released last October 2018. Here is the link of our original poster for your reference. As you can see, they've used the same layout and photo, but changed the text, ” Nicco Atos, Aquino's media relations officer told AFP in a February 1, 2019 email.

The misleading Facebook post has been shared more than 2,000 times by Facebook groups and pages with over two million followers, according to data from social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle.

Screenshot of Crowdtangle data