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Netizens post misleading Google Maps route of Sumilao farmers’ caravan

Farmers from Sumilao, Bukidnon who launched a 40-day caravan to support presidential candidate Leni Robredo covered nearly 4,000 kilometers when they traveled roundabout provinces in Mindanao and Visayas before arriving in Manila. This is contrary to misleading posts that insist the farmers could have only traveled 1,399 kilometers based on Google Maps’ direct route from Sumilao to Manila.

The farmers’ stopovers from March 28 to April 29, which were gathered from their Facebook page “Lakad ng mga Pamilyang Magsasaka Laban sa Gutom at Kahirapan,” were plotted on Google Maps to get their total distance. It shows they traveled about 3,895 kilometers, reaching some locations by boat.

From Sumilao, Bukidnon to Dumaguete (March 28 to April 6)

From Dumaguete to Batangas (April 6 to April 16)

From Batangas to Tiaong, Quezon (April 16 to April 24)

From Tiaong, Quezon to Ateneo De Manila University (April 24 to April 29)

From Bula, Camarines Sur to Gumacan, Quezon traveled by Banasi Farmers (April 10 to April 20)

The farmers also never claimed to have walked the full 4,000 kilometers on foot. In a Facebook video on March 28, the first day of the caravan, a member of the farmer’s group said they would do a “walk-caravan.”

Noland Penas’ full statement reads:

Sa araw na ito na ika-28 ng Marso, 2022, maguumpisa ang 40 araw na lakad ng mga pamilyang magsasaka laban sa gutom at kahirapan mula Sumilao hanggang Manila. [...] Lahat kabilang sa pambansang kilusan ng mga samahang magsasaka upang isama ay maglalakad caravan hanggang Sumilao hanggang Gumaca (On this day, March 28, 2022, marks the start of the 40-day walk of farmer families against hunger and poverty from Sumilao to Manila. [...] Everyone who is a part of the national movement of farmers can join through the walk-caravan from Sumilao to Gumaca).

The Facebook page’s description also indicates they would launch a “40-day nationwide march-caravan.” A caravan is a group traveling together, typically with a vehicle.

“Lakad” in Filipino can also mean a “travel mission” or a “destination” in English, aside from the literal act of walking.

Facebook page “Juan Dirigma” posted on April 29 a screengrab from Google Maps of a direct route from Sumilao to Manila that was only 1,399 kilometers long.

The full claim reads:

Nasa 1399kms lang ang layo mula Sumilao hanggang Manila. At paano ka tatawid dagat kung BY FOOT ka lang (There’s only a distance of 1399 kms from Sumilao to Manila. And how will you cross the sea on foot).

The post includes a screenshot of a Facebook post by media organization on April 28 misstating the farmers “traveled 4,000 km on foot for 40 days.” This was edited two days later to “farmers who traveled from Bukidnon to Manila.”

Another media organization, Rappler, also made a similar error on April 29. Its Facebook post mentions “Sumilao farmers who have marched from Bukidnon for 40 days.”

The group has traveled for 35 days as of today.

Other Facebook pages like “For the Motherland - Sass Rogando Sasot” posted similar misleading claims on May 1, again questioning the 4,000-kilometer distance. Facebook page “Pinas Ang Ina Nyo” posted on the same day and compared the caravan to the Bataan Death March.

The post of “Juan Dirigma” has reached 403 reactions, 62 comments and 41 shares. (CC)


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