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Photos of other countries misused to depict clean Pasig River, Boracay

A Facebook post has misappropriated photos of a river and beaches in other countries to falsely depict the cleanup of Pasig River and Boracay and credit it to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr..

Facebook user Dariel Noypi Kaalaman posted June 12 a photo collage containing four incorrect photos to compare the alleged state of Pasig River and Boracay in 2010 and 2023. The caption reads:

GRABE PAKITANG GILAS NA NAMAN ANG PINAS! PILIPINAS NA PO ANG MAY PINAKAMABABANG POLUSYON SA BUONG ASIA Pansinin ang pagkakaiba ng itsura ng pasig at boaracay noong 2010 VS ngayung 2023. Yan ang pagkakaiba ng pamamalakad ni president Pnoy at ni PBBM (Wow, the Philippines once again shows off that it is is now the least polluted country in Asia. Notice the difference between Pasig and Boracay in 2010 versus 2023. That is the difference between the management of former president PNoy and PBBM).

PNoy refers to the late president Benigno Aquino III while PBBM refers to Marcos.

A reverse image search of the photo that the post claimed to be Pasig River in 2023 is actually a snap of a river in Kaoshiung, Taiwan posted last year in an article on the news online portal Taiwan News. The photo was credited to the Kaohsiung Tourism Bureau.

The photo purportedly of Boracay in 2010 is a photo of Jersey Shore in New Jersey posted by the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2017.

The post also used a photo of Maldives beach credited to Joali Maldives and published on Daily Sabah as that of Boracay in 2023.

The photo depicting Pasig River in 2010 is Estero de Paco, an estuary of Pasig River. A reverse image search showed it was from the Asian Development Bank’s cleanup project and posted on its website in 2011. The photo was the subject of a previous fact check of FactRakers.

Dariel Noypi Kaalaman’s post also wrongly claimed that the Philippines is the least polluted country in Asia.

The Philippines is the 69th most polluted country in the world, according to the ranking of IQAir, a company that tracks air quality worldwide.

Other Asian countries like Hong Kong (72nd), Taiwan (76th), Singapore (77th), Maldives (90th), and Japan (97th) rank lower, which means they are less polluted than the Philippines.

Before-and-after posts misusing and decontextualizing photos were commonly used during the Duterte administration. VERA Files previously fact-checked a claim about Manila Bay to compare the Aquino and Duterte administrations. Rappler published a fact-check on a claim crediting Duterte for Pasig River’s cleanup.

The misleading post was shared across public Facebook groups with huge numbers of participants. Among these are Latest News Philippines with over 47,000 members and various community support groups of BBM such as Solid BBM Supporters with 8,400 members, and BBM Supporters Nationwide with 8,900 members. (SC)


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