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Virac airport before-after graphic misleading

A Facebook post crediting the rehabilitation of the Virac International Airport passenger terminal building to the Duterte administration misleads. Construction began during the Aquino administration.

Facebook page BUHAY Seaman PH created the impression that the renovation of the terminal building in Catanduanes was solely a project of President Rodrigo Duterte by juxtaposing in its May 22 post before and after photos with the text overlay “AQUINO BEFORE” on the old structure and “DUTERTE BEFORE” on the refurbished one. The post ran these and other photos of several new infrastructure projects, attributing all of them to Duterte.

A joint press release of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the old terminal building was built in 1963 or during the Macapagal administration.

The press release said rehabilitation of the terminal building began in January 2016, months before Aquino’s term ended.

Completion of the P39 million project, however, was postponed from July 2016 to May 2018 due to additional retrofitting works and damages caused by typhoon “Nina,” it added.

The procurement process for the renovation project also started under the Aquino administration. A CAAP document shows that P37.07 million had been appropriated in 2014 for the project.

Government Procurement Policy Board (GPPB) records show that the public bidding started in March 2015 and the project was awarded to DSB Construction and Supply Inc. months later.

Records from CAAP indicate that improvements on the airport initiated by the Duterte administration include only the expansion of the powerhouse and runway, reblocking of the airport apron, rehabilitation due to typhoon damage and construction of a flight service station. These were not shown in the post.

A reverse image search shows that the photo of the old terminal building published by BUHAY Seaman PH had appeared in, among others, the June 6, 2018 article of the Albay-based Diario Veritas on the inauguration of the rehabilitated facility. Google Maps shows the old terminal in 2017.

The photo of the renovated terminal is taken from a promotional video the DOTr posted in June 2019.

BUHAY Seaman PH’s post has more than 12,000 engagements and 56,000 shares as of this writing. The page was created in April 2020. (JMP)


BUHAY Seaman PH [@BuhaySeamanPH]. (2021, May 22). AQUINO VS. DUTERTE [Facebook post]. Facebook.

BUHAY Seaman PH [@BuhaySeamanPH]. (2021, May 22). [Photograph]. Facebook.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. (2017). CY-2017 Revised annual procurement plan (APP).

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines [@caaphilippines]. (2018, June 1). DOTr-CAAP PRESS RELEASE June 1, 2018 [Facebook post]. Facebook.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. (2021). Status of CAAP and DOTr projects: As of 15 April 2021.

Department of Transportation - Philippines [@DOTrPH]. (2019, July 11). Virac airport testimonial [Video]. Facebook.

Department of Transportation. (2018, June 1). DOTr, CAAP inaugurate rehabilitated Virac airport.

Government Procurement Policy Board. (2015). Status of the projects: Public bidding (Infrastructure) As of January - June 2015.

Public-Private Partnership Center. (2016, September 30). Annual report 2015. PPP Center | The Official Site Public-Private Partnership Center of the Philippines.

Rappler. (2021, March 30). FALSE: No infrastructure built under Noynoy Aquino.


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