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Army hits ‘fake news’ over alleged abductions in Pangasinan encounter with NPA



The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division (71D) slammed the spread of “fake news” about their encounter with suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in San Nicolas, Pangasinan.

According to a Philippine News Agency (PNA) report, 1Lt. Catherine Hapin, chief of the 71D Kaugnay public information office, condemned how the “malicious information and fake news circulated through text messages and social media” have alarmed some residents.

Fake reports claimed that the NPA rebels abducted some mayors after the rebels’ encounter with the Army’s 3rd Maneuver Company of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 1 (RPSB1) in San Nicolas, particularly in Camps 3 and 4, and along the boundaries of Barangays Malico and Sta. Maria, and the entire San Nicolas.

The firefight led to the death of a soldier and several rebels with the arrival of the reinforcement troops from the 84th Infantry Battalion, who also conducted pursuit operations. The encounter also placed six district police stations in Pangasinan under full alert status.

No mayor was abducted in Pangasinan, Hapin clarified. She called the reports claiming otherwise to be “false and pure hearsay.”

“The situation has been contained and no enemy harassment has taken place in any of the barangays and towns of the province,” Hapin said.

We found this post about an alleged NPA abduction on Facebook.

The Philippine Army

Hapin said that the Office of the Municipal Mayor of San Nicolas has released an official statement regarding the fake news that caused the residents to panic. Here is their statement:

Hapin added that Major General Angelito M. de Leon, Commander of 71D Kaugnay, was “determined to see an end to the deplorable acts of the enemy and has ordered an intensified operations of troops to ensure that the enemy will never threaten the peace in Pangasinan.”

This is not the first time that a fake story about NPA rebel attacks has gone viral and caused panic among the citizens, though.

Fake news about student abductions

A Manila Times article covered the story about how officials in the local government units and public schools asked the public to stop spreading unverified news about the abduction of some students in Pangasinan by armed men believed to be NPA rebels.


“The fake news reports are very alarming to us and some of the parents refused to send their children to school for fear that they will be kidnapped by the NPA rebels,” some teachers told the newspaper in an exclusive interview on July 31.

Talongapor Elementary School principal also denied reports about student abductions in their town in Santa Maria, contrary to the reports posted on social media and broadcasted by Metro Manila-based radio stations.

San Nicholas school district supervisor Maxima Bandiola said that schools were still open on July 31 despite the fake reports on social media. She said that she gathered the school principals in her district and told them to encourage parents to continue sending their kids to school because reports of the NPA abductions in San Nicholas are untrue.

Fake news about NPA burning down Bukidnon school

In March, the NPA was the subject of another fake news after they were accused by the military of burning down a high school building in Valencia City.

Mary Jean Subayco, academic head and school secretary of Concepcion National High School in Brgy. Concepcion, Valencia, belied the military’s allegations against the rebels, adding that the source of the fire was an “electrical short circuit.” This is the same cause cited by the Bureau of Fire Protection in its report.

According to Subayco, a cellphone charger that remained plugged in the faculty room overheated, causing the fire. It burned the faculty room and the adjacent library.

Subayco contradicted military reports that the NPA caused the fire.

“I am teaching here (CNHS) for 3 years already and so far the NPA has not visited the school nor engaged in extortion activities,” she told Rappler in a phone interview.

She said the incident did not affect the classes, which went on as usual, except for the unfortunate occurrence of the burned textbooks in the school library.

The 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division reported that the NPA torched the school when the school officials refused to give them money.

First Lieutenant Erwin Bugarin, 8th Infantry Battalion’s civic military officer, said: “The rebel group asked their shared in the fund which was intended for the feeding program of their pupils.”

He added: “It is every evident that the NPA exempts no one in their extortion activities not even the schools which are essential in providing education for our country’s future.”

Meme Buster has also busted fake stories related to the NPA. We busted the fake story about the surrender of an NPA commander and 121 others in Bukidnon, the recycled story about the surrender of 154 NPA rebels allegedly under the Duterte admin although it actually happened in 2015, the NPA commander paying a percentage of revolutionary tax to leftist group BAYAN, former NPA commander owning 5-star resort in El Nido, and more.

Sources: ( , , )


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Netizens slam Duterte for saying women ‘could not stand threats and intimidation’



President Rodrigo Duterte drew flak for another controversial comment involving women after he remarked on May 24 that women “could not stand threats and intimidation.”

Duterte said that while he believed in women’s competence, it does not necessarily ring true in all aspects of life.

“I believe in the woman, the competence and capability, pero hindi lahat sa buhay dapat.Hindi ka, hindi, hindi. Dapat lang. It’s not appropriate when you cannot stand threats and intimidation,” he said in his May 24 speech.

He also said that women should be “prim and proper” and talked about his reservation in sending women police and soldiers to the field because unlike men, they did not grow up with a mindset that involves violence.

“Ang mga babae, sundalo pati pulis, ayaw ko ‘yan sa bukid. Unlike men kami, maliit pa lang, suntukan, bakbakan, barilan. And we grew up with a sort of a mindset na sometimes prone to violence. Itong mga babae, prim and proper man ‘yan, isang tingin lang sa nanay niyan, wala na tunaw na ‘yan. Tapos gawin mong pulis, ipaaway mo doon. Naku,” Duterte remarked.

Netizens then took to social media to react to Duterte’s most recent statements, making #BabaeAko trend again on Twitter.

“Mr. President, you just horrifyingly disrespected your own mother who bravely fought against the Marcos dictatorship. She withstood threats and intimidation. Siya ay babae! #BabaeAko,” a Twitter user remarked.

Forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun spoke out, too, saying “I am threatened and intimidated a lot. All my life. Don’t me. #BabaeAko.”

So did film and theater actress Chai Fonacier, who said, “Encouraging women — and I mean including those who identify as women — and our friends from the entire spectrum to share your #BabaeAko statements to fight the misogyny that the President and his ilk normalize through their behavior. Make them remember the feminine strength.”

KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago also reacted, saying she refused to be stereotyped.

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged other Filipinos to protest against Duterte’s misogynistic statements.

Other Twitter users weighed in on the issue.

Duterte’s previous misogynistic remarks


His remarks in his speech on May 24 seemed to have sought to explain another controversial remark he made on May 16 when he said that he did not want a politician, especially a woman, to become the next Ombudsman.

“Mag-nominate sila, pero I choose, but gusto ko ‘yung bilib ang tao sa integrity niya. Of course it could not be a politician, lalo na hindi babae,” he said during a chance interview.

This gave birth to the launching of the #BabaeAko movement on social media on May 21 by women activists and other people who also want to protest Duterte’s misogynistic and sexist statements.

One of  the women who joined the #BabaeAko campaign was former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo who said, “Akala ko taumbayan ang boss ni Duterte. Yun pala sina Marcos, Gloria, Trump at China. Para sa bayang makatarungan at malaya, lalaban ako.”

In February, he was also slammed for telling his audience of former NPA rebels that he told his soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina.

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New DOT chief to ask Montano why he rushed official New York engagement to watch Broadway show



Newly installed Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said she plans on talking with Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) COO Cesar Montano to ask for his side on certain accusations that were hurled against him.

Among these accusations came from an Abante report where Montano was said to have rushed a speaking engagement staged by the DOT in New York to watch the Broadway musical show “Hamilton.”

DOT reportedly launched the Philippine Tourism Presentation and Dinner Reception on May 9 to showcase Philippine tourism and fashion at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Montano was introduced as the event’s keynote speaker, but he was said to have only spoken for a bit before hurriedly leaving the venue, disappointing the guests, which also included US officials.

Montano was said to have been invited to the event in behalf of the now-resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo. He was also named as one of the two hosts, the other being Teo, of the said event.

In reaction to this report about Montano, Puyat said she would talk to Montano as well as the Tourism attache and other DOT officials who attended the event to verify the accusation in the report mentioned above.


Puyat said that she would investigate into the “Buhay Carinderia” program that the TPB is set to implement. This was after Philippine Star Boo Chanco accused Montano of issuing P80-million worth of three checks to the event proponent and organizer.

“I still don’t have the papers. I will be asking [and] will be arranging a meeting with Mr. Cesar Montano to ask about ‘yung mga nabasa ko sa ‘Buhay Carinderia’ – kung totoo ba na walang bidding ‘yung P80 million na advance,” Puyat said on May 15.

“I’m planning to talk to him and ask his side. I want to ask all those who were there if it actually happened,” Puyat added.

In March 2017, TPB employees filed a complaint against Montano for his alleged corruption and mismanagement of the agency. These include hiring friends and relatives, using TPB’s funds for personal trips, and showing incompetence in fulfilling his obligations as the agency’s COO.

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Eldest Tulfo vows to help Wanda clear her name, berates ‘black sheep’ Ben over controversial P60-M DOT ad deal



Inquirer columnist Ramon Tulfo spoke up about the controversy involving his siblings, now resigned Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo and hosts Ben and Erwin Tulfo, over the P60 million tourism ad deal.

The eldest Tulfo wrote in his Inquirer column on May 10 that while President Rodrigo Duterte himself advised the Tulfo family to avoid talking to the media, he took it upon himself as the family’s acting patriarch to tell the story behind the controversy.

First up, Ramon blamed Teo for not hiring smart staff members who could have advised her against inking a deal with PTV 4, where one of the Tulfo brothers, Ben, was a blocktimer.

As a blocktimer, Ben pays for his TV show’s airtime on the state-run channel.

According to Ramon, Wanda was only complying with President Duterte’s injunction for his Cabinet secretaries to support PTV 4, adding that she did not know Ben’s company would get most of the multimillion advertising contract with DOT.

He also hit Ben, whom he called a “black sheep” with a “middle child” syndrome as the fifth child out of 10 siblings, for signing the P60-million advertising contract with PTV 4 despite knowing that there would be a conflict of interest on Wanda’s part.

Ramon also said that Wanda still tried to save Ben, who insisted on his innocence amid the controversy, leading her to resign from her post. He also explained that Wanda seemed to have forgotten the fact that her husband was on the board of director of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), a part of DOT, when Duterte appointed her as tourism chief. He added that it should have been up to her husband to step down from his post upon his wife’s appointment.


In the same column, he also slammed Wanda’s lawyer, Ferdinand Topacio, whom he said did not even consult the Tulfo brothers on returning the P60-million funds from the ad deal. He also described the lawyer as “all talk,” a counsel who’s only focused on gaining publicity for himself.

Unlike what has been previously reported about Wanda resigning out of delicadeza amid the controversy, Ramon let it slip that he commended President Duterte for “sacking Wanda,” prompting some people to ask whether Wanda was fired instead of resigned.

Before he ended his column, he vowed to support “Wanda’s fight to clear her name, but not Ben’s.”
Wanda resigned on May 8 to show delicadeza and to spare everyone, especially Duterte, from the pain caused by the controversy, according to her lawyer.

The issue started with the Commission on Audit’s report showing the DOT paying P60 million worth of commercials to PTV 4, which in turn, tapped Ben’s Bitag Media Unlimited Inc. to air the tourism ads during Ben and Erwin’s show “Kilos Pronto.”

Malacañang said that Teo’s resignation does not mean that she is off the hook since the Ombudsman is still looking into her and other government officials involved in the controversial ad deal.

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