Marcos Fact Checks

FALSE: No gov’t funds spent building Imelda Marcos’ pet infrastructure projects

FALSE: No gov’t funds spent building Imelda Marcos’ pet infrastructure projects
The Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the Philippine International Convention Center are examples of the former first lady's pet infrastructure projects built using public funds
At a glance
  • Claim: No government funds were spent building former first lady Imelda Marcos’ pet infrastructures.
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: The Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and the Philippine International Convention Center are examples of Marcos’ infrastructure pet projects that were built using public funds.
  • Why we fact-checked this: The claim can be found in an August 15 post on the Facebook page “Marcos History,” with 734 reactions, 25 comments, and 158 shares, as of writing.
Complete details

An August 15 post on the Facebook page “Marcos History” falsely states that no government funds were spent in building infrastructures favored by former first lady Imelda Marcos.

It reads: “Grabe walang nagastos sa government funds sa mga infrastructure na ipinatayo ni imelda. Tapos ginanyan lang siya. Binigyan na nga tayo tapos binatikos pa.” (No government funds were spent on infrastructures that Imelda Marcos built. And for that she was treated [unfairly]. She gave us something but got lambasted for it.)

The post has an accompanying clip of Marcos’ interview with Mel Tiangco on the show Powerhouse. At the 2:03 mark, Marcos says, “I did not use government money in building any one of these [buildings],” referring to the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center of the Philippines, and Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), to name a few.

As of writing, the post has 734 reactions, 25 comments, and 158 shares.

The claim is false. 

At least three pet infrastructure projects of Mrs. Marcos were built using government funds. 

One was the Philippine Heart Center. Batasang Pambansa records show that Jesus Azurin, then-minister of health, said P306 million in public funds, advanced by the Government Service Insurance System, were used in the hospital’s construction. 

The Philippine Heart Center was inaugurated in 1975 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 673, which states in Section 2: “The Government shall constitute the necessary land, building, equipment, and facilities to the Philippine Heart Center, and shall pay such obligations for real, personal and mixed properties arising from such undertaking under a deferred payment arrangement within 5 years, at a preferred rate of interest.” 

Another example is the Lung Center of the Philippines. Again, Azurin is cited in Batasang Pambansa records as stating that P306.5 million were given by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office for the hospital’s construction. Batas Pambansa Blg. 42, approved on September 24, 1979, acknowledges in Section 1 that the PCSO is a government agency.

The Lung Center of the Philippines was established through Presidential Decree No. 1823 on January 16, 1981, and opened on January 23, 1982. The “History” section of its website states, “The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office financed the building and equipping of the Institution.”

Another example is the PICC, which was constructed by the Central Bank of the Philippines (now the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) as authorized by Presidential Decree No. 520 on July 23, 1974. Section 4 of the decree acknowledges the Central Bank’s role as far as government spending is concerned.

Must Read

Other pet projects of Marcos include the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater (now the Tanghalang Francisco Balagtas), the Coconut Palace, and the Manila Film Center. The infrastructure-building spree during the Marcos period characterized what has been called the “edifice complex.” – Percival Bueser/Rappler.com

​​This article was written by a volunteer of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program, a 5-week exclusive and hands-on training on detecting, investigating, and verifying online misinformation and disinformation.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.