At a glance
- Claim: Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was met by a crowd of two million in Pangasinan in February 2022.
- Rating: FALSE
- The facts: Only roughly 70,000 attended the rallies held at several places, and some others who waited for Marcos’ motorcade in their areas.
- Why we fact-checked this: This figure was released by the Marcos camp and was amplified by a reporter of Sonshine Media Network Inc., which is owned by pastor Apollo Quiboloy, who had endorsed Marcos’ candidacy.
A press release from the camp of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., which was also carried by the Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), said, “Consolidated data from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that more than two million Pangasinense went out of their residences to see and greet Marcos during his two-day visit as he fulfilled his promise to return to the province to meet them again.”
Neither the press release nor SMNI cited any PNP official who could confirm what appeared to be an exaggerated estimate.
Pangasinan has a population of 3.16 million. To claim that 2 million residents welcomed Marcos would mean two-thirds of the province’s residents went out on those two days.
Supposing that all residents of the 14 towns and cities traversed by Marcos’ motorcade went out during his visit, that would only be 1.3 million individuals. Meanwhile, the motorcade was only done in major thoroughfares of said towns. In these towns, majority of the population are not located along highways, but in interior areas, accessible only through municipal and barangay roads.
Rappler gathered individual reports from chiefs of police of Pangasinan towns and cities where grand rallies and motorcades were held for Marcos.
For example, in Bayambang, where the largest Uniteam rally in Pangasinan was held, only around 30,000 individuals attended. This was confirmed in an interview with Bayambang chief of police Lieutenant Colonel Jim Helario.
This is contrary to reports from vloggers, such as Arjay Angeles, claiming 50,000 individuals flocked to the event.
The second-largest Uniteam Rally in Pangasinan, held in Alaminos City, had a crowd of roughly 7,000 only, as confirmed by Alaminos City police.
In total, around 70,000 individuals attended Marcos’ caravan and rallies in key towns and cities in Pangasinan.
Meanwhile, a report by Major Kate Awingan, spokesperson for the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, said that in total there were allegedly around 1.2 million individuals who received Marcos at rallies and motorcades during his two-day visit to Pangasinan.
“Kasama rito ‘yung mga sumalubong sa kalye and sa mga rally, whole province of Pangasinan po,” said Awingan in a phone interview by Rappler. (This includes those who came out on the streets and those who went to the rallies in the whole province of Pangasinan.)
When asked how the police gathered the number, Awingan said it was an estimate received by the PNP Operations center, from 1,000 deployed policemen.
“Tinitingnan din po kasi natin hindi lang ‘yung inside perimeter, kundi pati na rin po ‘yung mga sumalubong sa daan,” she added. (We considered not only those inside the perimenter, but also those who went out on the roads.)
She said it was the consolidated data from the PNP’s operations unit.
While Pangasinan may be considered a Marcos bailiwick as it is part of the Ilocos Region dubbed as Marcos country, the report citing that two-thirds of the province’s population received him is false. – Ahikam Pasion/Rappler.com
Ahikam Pasion is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.
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