A newly created Facebook page posing as the official account of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been cashing in on a purported social media-initiated “audit” of the government agency’s P200 billion social amelioration fund for the COVID-19 crisis.
Created April 29, the imposter account identifies itself as DSWD, a “government organization” and uses the profile URL DSWD-113697273657065. It has appropriated the logo of the DSWD for both its profile and cover photos.
The site’s About page supplies a YouTube hyperlink that leads to an April 26 video headlined “P120 BILLION IPAPAMIMIGAY PARA SA MGA NO WORK, NO PAY (P120 billion set aside for no work, no pay)!” posted on a channel created May 2, 2017 by Rickne Jacala.
The imposter page has already built a following of 23,758 within four days of its creation.
Its lone post, published the same day it was created, ran a viral infographic soliciting comments on the P5,000 to P8,000 cash subsidies government is releasing to indigent and low-income households during the COVID-19 quarantine through the DSWD, supposedly to attract the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go.
Readers were urged to supply their family name and the street, barangay and city where they live.
The post has collected 7,600 shares, 22,500 comments and 14,680 shares. It appears in 198 groups with a combined 10 million followers which, in turn, have generated 1.39 million interactions, data from the social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle show.
DSWD’s official Facebook page bears the full name of the government agency and uses the profile URL dswdserves. Its profile picture shows its official logo and the text “DSWD Department of Social Weflare and Development @69.” A gallery of photos appears under the its logo and the text “Social Integration: DSWD’s Major Thrust in Line with Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022” on its cover photo.
The official DSWD page has been around since Sept. 7, 2010 and has 665,749 followers.
The infographic the DSWD poseur published has been circulating for about a week.
One of the earliest versions was uploaded April 27 by the Facebook page Real Talk PH Edition whose post alone has generated 32,000 likes and 102,679 shares.
The fake DSWD page did not lift Real Talk PH Edition’s status update for the infographic but simply ran the Filipino text on the infographic and its English translation. It mostly reads:
LAHAT PO NG FILIPINO CITIZEN AY HINIHIKAYAT NA MAG COMMENT SA POST NA ITO PARA MALAMAN NG PANGULONG DUTERTE AT NI SENATOR BONG GO KUNG ANONG MGA BRGY AT CITY ANG HINDI PA NAKAKATANGGAP NG 5,000 AT 8,000 PESOS
Paalala lang po wag nyo po ilalagay ang buong detalye at contact number nyo para hindi kayo ma Identity Theft malaman lang natin ang Brgy at City kung saan Malakas ang Korapsyon
ALL FILIPINO CITIZENS ARE ALLOWED TO COMMENT ON THIS POST SO PRESIDENT DUTERTE AND SENATOR BONG GO WILL KNOW WHAT BRGY AND CITY HAVE NOT RECEIVED 5,000 AND 8,000 PESOS
Just a reminder, don't put your full details and contact number so you won't be identity theft, let's just know Brgy and City where Corruption is strong
The phrase on the infographic requesting readers to post their family name, street, barangay and city does not appear on the status update of the imposter account.
Real Talk PH Edition said at the outset it is an “independent group” not connected with any government agency, including the DSWD, Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board and Department of Agriculture.
It said the “audit” of the P200 billion social amelioration fund is intended to find out who haven’t received the assistance and thwart any “conspiracy” between the DSWD and barangay officials.
The Department of Budget and Management completed the release the P200 billion fund to DSWD’s cash subsidy project in mid-April.
While Real Talk PH Edition urged citizens not to put their full personal information, including contact details, to prevent identity theft, it asked them to include their family name and identify their street, barangay and city in their comment.
The post was obviously designed to generate traffic as it prodded readers to make the post go viral and assured them that their comments would reach the president and Go.
In addition, the DSWD logo was splashed across the infographic, creating the impression it was an official advisory.
Real Talk PH Edition was created on Feb. 17, 2019 and has 81,589 likes. It assured readers its post on the “audit” was no joke. But its About page contains only three words: “Makakagago Waz Up.” The root word “gago” means to deceive or to fool in English.
Cigaral, I. (2020, April 17). All eyes on DSWD as DBM completes release of P200 billion for cash aid. Philstar. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/business/2020/04/17/2007928/all-eyes-dswd-dbm-completes-release-p200-billion-cash-aid
Department of Social Welfare and Development [dswdserves]. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/dswdserves/
DSWD [DSWD-113697273657065/]. (2020, April 29). LAHAT PO NG FILIPINO CITIZEN AY HINIHIKAYAT NA MAG COMMENT SA POST NA ITO … [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=113711606988965&id=113697273657065
Real Talk PH Edition. (2020, April 27). Ang page na ito ay hindi parte ng DSWD LTFRB DA or anumang ahensya ng Gobyerno…[Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2946564732086027&id=2112055868870255