In a Facebook post under their #FactsGanern album, Rappler hit Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson for posting a report with a photo of Marawi City that was taken by a Rappler correspondent in May.
“This is misleading,” Rappler wrote.
“The photo used by PCOO Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson in her Facebook post was not taken after Marawi City was declared “liberated” by President Rodrigo Duterte. It’s a photo by Rappler correspondent Bobby Lagsa, taken on May 25, 2017, the 3rd day of the Marawi siege,” Rappler added.
Rappler also provided a link to its original story where the photo that was used in the article shared by Uson was first published.
The photo was first seen in the Rappler article “Marawi: Images from a ghost town” that was published in May 26, 2017. The online news site also noted that all the photos were taken by their correspondent Bobby Lagsa.
In response to Rappler’s post, Uson took down her post, which actually included a link to a story by the official website of Mula sa Masa, Para sa Masa, the government’s first tabloid aimed to reach out to the Filipino public who don’t have access to mainstream media and social media.
“Gusto ko lamang po klaruhin na ang photo na ginamit ko po dito ay galing sa MULA SA MASA, PARA SA MASA PAGE na isa sa mga OPISYAL na pahayagan ng PCOO,” Uson wrote in a Facebook post on October 23 while tagging Rappler.
“Wala po tayong intention linlangin ang tao tulad na sinasabi ng Rappler dahil nga ito ay galing sa OPISYAL NA PAHAYAGAN NG PCOO. At bilang Assistant Secretary for Social Media ng PCOO ay akin lamang po itong ibinahagi sa Social Media,” she said.
“Kung nagkamali man ang MULA SA MASA, PARA SA MASA PAGE/BLOG akin na po itong sinabi sa pamunuan ng PCOO. Sa kasalukuyan ito po ay tinanggal na ng MULA SA MASA, PARA SA MASA PAGE/BLOG,” she added.
She also posted photos of “Mula sa Masa, Para sa Masa’s” post about the article and photo in question and the official description of the Facebook page to prove her claim that it is a tabloid released by the PCOO (Presidential Communications Operations Office).
Uson also repeated her clarification in the comments section, noting how sharing a report from the PCOO is one of her responsibilities, without failing to hit Rappler and its low engagement.
When we tried to check if the feature image used in the Mula sa Masa, Para sa Masa article “22 Barangay Sa Marawi Nalinis Na,” the photo used was still that of Rappler’s correspondent.
This is not the first mistake committed by the PCOO. One of the units under it, the Philippine News Agency (PNA), has been in hot water a number of times for its blunders. The PNA posted a Chinese state media report that called the Hague ruling an “ill-founded award,” used the Dole pineapple processing company’s logo for a DOLE-related report, published fake news about how 95 UN member states were convinced there are no EJKs in the Philippines, used the wrong map for a report about Ilocos Norte, and were caught publishing PNA editor’s notes as headlines. The People’s Television Network (PTV) under PCOO was also hit for mistakenly showing Burma as Myanmar’s capital.