Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

FACT CHECK: Claims missing context in Marcos’ 2023 SONA

Lorenz Pasion

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FACT CHECK: Claims missing context in Marcos’ 2023 SONA

SONA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr delivers his second State of the Nation Address at Congress on July 24, 2023.

Screengrab from RTVM

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s 2023 SONA makes some claims without full context that could prevent people from seeing the complete picture

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may not have directly made false claims in his second State of the Nation Address, but context was missing when he highlighted the economic wins and the progress made in several key programs of his administration in his first year in power.

A look at the bigger picture involving these achievements shows Marcos saying things that might have misled the public and warped their appreciation of reality. [READ: Without context, Marcos’ SONA 2023 figures warp economic reality]

Here’s a compilation of the claims with missing context that Rappler spotted in his hour-and-10-minute-long SONA on Monday, July 24.

FACT CHECK: Claims missing context in Marcos’ 2023 SONA
CLAIM: Marcos administration’s GDP growth ‘highest’ in 46 years

“While the global prospects were bleak, our economy posted a 7.6% growth in 2022 – our highest growth rate in 46 years,” Marcos said, referring to the growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

Veteran journalist JC Punongbayan said in a panel during Rappler’s special coverage that the GDP growth recorded in Marcos’ first year as chief executive was due to the pandemic and not the performance of his administration.

“When it comes to the highest growth rate in 46 years, it actually hides the fact that this pandemic brought permanent scars to our economy and we are really coming from a low base. That’s why the growth figures are seemingly so impressive,” he said.

In 2020 and 2021, the country suffered the deepest recession it had experienced in two decades due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the economy has only begun to bounce back from such a low baseline GDP.

In fact, the Philippine economy has been slowing down in the last few quarters, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

During the first quarter of 2023, the country registered a growth rate of 6.4%, which was the lowest since the second quarter of 2021 when the country began post-pandemic recovery efforts.

CLAIM: PhilHealth’s Konsulta has been offering 21 medicines, 13 lab tests since 2020

In his second SONA, Marcos made it seem like his administration came up with the Konsulta Package of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) by announcing that a total of 21 medicines and 13 laboratory services will now be offered for free.

Marcos said, “Sa pinagandang Konsulta Package ng PhilHealth, dalawampu’t isang klase ng mga gamot at labintatlong laboratory services ang ibibigay nang libre.” (In the improved Konsulta Package of PhilHealth, 21 medicines and 13 laboratory services will now be given for free.)

Since its development in 2020, however, the Konsulta program has been providing for free 21 medicines and 13 laboratory services. The program had its pilot implementation in 2021.

CLAIM: Kadiwa Program served 1.8 million poor households

Marcos said the Department of Agriculture’s Kadiwa Program served 1.8 million poor households. Marcos is also the country’s concurrent agriculture chief.

Sa mahigit pitong libong Kadiwa na idinaos sa buong Pilipinas, 1.8 milyon na pamilya ang nakinabang sa mababang presyo ng bilihin,” Marcos said. (1.8 million families benefited from the low prices offered in more than 7,000 Kadiwa outlets in the Philippines.)

However, what Marcos did not say during his speech is that there are 5.6 million poor households in the Philippines, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Listahan 3 survey. This means Kadiwa benefited one-third or only 1 out of 3 of poor households in the country.

CLAIM: Hemodialysis sessions were made free to Filipinos only during the Marcos administration

Marcos announced in his second SONA that there are now 156 dialysis sessions available to Filipinos. In his statement, he made it appear that it was only during his administration that hemodialysis sessions were made free to Filipinos.

He said, “Upang mas lalo pang makatulong sa mga pasyente, ang dating siyamnapung libreng dialysis sessions ay inakyat na natin sa isandaan at limampu’t anim. Mga kababayan, libre na po ngayon ang dialysis para sa karamihan ng Pilipino.”

(To further help patients, we increased the number of free dialysis sessions from 90 to 156. To my fellow countrymen, dialysis is now free to most of Filipinos.)

However, PhilHealth has been offering 90 free hemodialysis sessions to its members since 2015. It was expanded to 144 sessions in 2020 and was further increased to 156 in June 2023. – with reports from Ailla Dela Cruz and Jezreel Ines/Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Can we expect honesty and sincerity from a President that was supported (and still is) by a massive, well-funded and well-led Disinformation Machinery? At least his Adviser on Creative Communications is on leave for now. So, just the regular stuff and nothing “creative” for the moment.

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Lorenz Pasion

Lorenz Pasion is a researcher at Rappler and a member of its fact-check team that debunks false claims that spread on social media.