Claim: Vice President Leni Robredo gave “only 5 pieces of pandesal and bottled water” to the victims of Taal Volcano eruption, according to a Facebook comment by user Artanacla Oallop.
Oallop’s comment read: “Salamat Robredo sa limang pirasong pandesal at isang boteng tubig. Daang libo gastos mo para sa mga kasama mong bodyguard at media tapos magdodonate ka halagang 30 pesos, asan ang daang daang milyon na pondo ng opisina mo hinayupak ka.”
(Thank you, Robredo, for the 5 pieces of pandesal and one bottle of water. You spent hundreds of thousands for your bodyguards and the media that accompanied you, then you donate packs worth P30 each? Where are the millions of funds allocated to your office, you, ass…?)
Oallop’s comment was spread by Mindanation.com and Facebook page MOCHA USON BLOG. Mindanation turned Oallop’s comment into an article on their website and titled it “Netizen hits Robredo for spending more money on media coverage than Taal relief goods.”
MOCHA USON BLOG, owned and managed by Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Deputy Executive Director Mocha Uson, shared Mindanation.com’s post on Facebook.
Uson’s caption read: “Hindi nakapagtataka na galit na ang mga tao sa mga istilong bulok na ganito. Hindi din kasi ito ang unang pagkakataong inuna ni Leni ang pagpapa photo ops kaysa sa pagtulong sa mga biktima ng trahedya (Admin MV).”
(It’s not surprising that people are mad with this kind of rotten style. It is also not the first time Leni put photo ops first before giving actual help to the victims of the tragedy.)
Several readers sent Uson’s post to Rappler for verification.
A few hours later, Uson again posted a photo that said: “Ang laki ng budget ng opisina mo pero bakit pandesal lang daw pinamigay mo?” (Your office has a huge budget, but why did you only distribute pan de sal?) This post has had over 2,800 shares, 15,000 reactions, and 3,400 comments as of writing.
The facts: The packs of relief goods distributed by Robredo contained rice, canned goods, noodles, and bottled water.
On January 14, Robredo went to 3 towns in Batangas: Sta Teresita, San Jose, and Sto Tomas. Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste joined the operations and helped distribute the goods. (READ: Robredo’s Angat Buhay donates food packs, face masks to Taal victims)
“I don’t know if there were pan de sal. But I am sure there were (goods with) hard case – could be canned goods or tetra packs, I’m not entirely sure.” Leviste told Rappler in a phone interview.
He added that each pack of goods contained groceries, rice, a large bottle of water, and an N95 face mask. “Ako ang katulong sa pag-abot eh (I was the one who helped her distribute),” he said.
Vince Liban, a volunteer who was at the relief operations, also contradicted Oallop and Uson’s claims. “This is infuriating. I was at the Relief Ops. We packed rice, assorted canned goods, and noodles in each food pack. Mocha Uson is not only spreading fake news. She is disrespecting the people who volunteered and is sowing discord in a tragic time like this,” he said.
Robredo herself debunked the claims on January 16. “Parang insulto naman ito sa dami ng taong nag-donate sa amin. In fact, noong Lunes na gabi, nagtawag kami ng volunteers. In less than an hour, ang daming dumating sa opisina na volunteers, at iyong mga volunteers iyong makakasabi kung ano iyong laman noong relief packs,” she said. (READ: Robredo fact-checks Uson: Why let a fake news peddler get taxpayers’ money?)
(This is an insult to the many people who donated to my office. In fact, last Monday night, we called for volunteers. In less than an hour, a lot of volunteers arrived at our office, and they can say what’s really inside those relief packs.)
The Office of the Vice President said they were able to distribute 2,101 food packs and 1,000 face masks to the Taal victims through Angat Buhay and its partner organizations. Each food pack contained 1.5 kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, and two packs of noodles.
As of writing, there is no user named Artanacla Oallop on Facebook. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com
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