WebClick Tracer

FACT CHECK | Video passes off foreign infrastructure as Marcos’ ‘Build Better More’ projects

marcos build better

The most recent list of infrastructure flagship projects (IFPs) from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) does not include the modernization of the Davao International Airport and construction of a Leyte-Surigao Link, contrary to what a YouTube video claims.

The video posted on Dec. 6 by YouTube channel Soksay TV listed the two among the 10 biggest infrastructure projects by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. under the “Build Better More” program.

While the video accurately featured some pending infrastructures included in NEDA’s 2023 IFP list, it also incorrectly used photos from other countries to refer to certain local projects that have been tabled.

At the 1:19 mark, the video showed a photo of a rendered architectural design labeled “Davao Airport. But a reverse image search directs to the Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in China. 

A three-dimensional perspective using Google Maps confirms the same “X-like” structure of the Chinese airport.

Screenshot 2023 12 19 at 8.25.28 AM

The modernization project of the Davao International Airport was included in NEDA’s IFP list from June 2017 to May 2021 only.

Business tycoon Dennis Uy, an ally of then President Rodrigo Duterte, became the original proponent of the project through his company Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. in 2019.

But in February 2023, NEDA Davao head Maria Lourdes Lim confirmed in a press conference that this was taken back by the implementing agency.

The original proponent status was already withdrawn by the DOTr for Chelsea. That means that other proposals may be entertained by the DOTr. (1:19:27 – 1:19:41)

According to NEDA’s guidelines, a project can be deleted from the list of IFPs if the implementing agency requests and justifies its termination.

Further at the 3:14 mark, the video displayed a series of photos referring to the Leyte-Surigao Link Bridge project.

A reverse image search, however, reveals that the following photos all show the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge in different angles and positions along the structure.

3ab3b0 c9d5046b52084445a87524c4f53da41bmv2

In NEDA’s IFP list in July 2019, the status of the Leyte-Surigao Link Bridge was already marked “for possible delisting.” 

Three months later, then NEDA Chief Ernesto Pernia said the project, alongside two other major bridges, would no longer push through. He adds:

“It’s going to be much more expensive than we thought. Also the one that is supposed to connect Leyte to Surigao. It’s too challenging.” (23:30 – 23:41)

Apart from foreign infrastructure, the video misappropriated photos of local projects. 

At the 4:03 and 6:39 marks, the YouTube post displayed the same photo but labeled it separately as “Cebu-Bohol Link Bridge” and “Bohol-Leyte Link Bridge.” 

A reverse image search, meanwhile, directs to the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway that only spans Cebu province. 

Both projects represented by misleading photos are not included in NEDA’s 2023 IFP list. 

Screenshot 2023 12 19 at 8.28.23 AM

The video also used an aerial shot of the Central Luzon Link Expressway from Tarlac to Nueva Ecija as an image for the Luzon-Samar Link Bridge at the 5:34 mark.

A three-dimensional imagery using Google Maps confirms the terrain and shape of the road project in Tarlac.

The Luzon-Samar Link Bridge remains a proposal that recently underwent assessment by Japanese experts last November, but it has yet to receive NEDA’s approval.

Screenshot 2023 12 19 at 8.29.47 AM

As of 8:41 a.m. December 19, the YouTube video has garnered 275 likes and 9,346 views. Created in March 2020, Soksay TV’s channel has around 290,000 subscribers. (KC)

(FactRakers is a Philippines-based fact-checking initiative of journalism majors at the University of the Philippines-Diliman working under the supervision of Associate Professor Yvonne T. Chua of the University of the Philippines’ Journalism Department.  Associate Professor Ma. Diosa Labiste, also of the Journalism Department, serves as editorial consultant. MindaNews was granted permission to republish this fact-check article.)

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism. It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media.

23C Saturn St. GSIS Subdivision, Davao City Philippines Tel. No.: 082 297 4360 editor [at] mindanews.com

Search MindaNews

About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve. 

What is MindaNews Fact Check?

MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.

Why we fact-check?

Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.

As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.

How do we rate claims?

FAKE -  if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE - if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

MISSING CONTEXT – if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.

Where do you post your results?

We post our fact-checked stories in mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found. 

How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate. 

Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website. 

Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries. 

Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections. 

Where do you get funds?

MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service  (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors.  Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews. 

MindaNews does not accept funds from politicians or domestic or foreign states for its fact-checking initiative. For the other operations of MindaNews as a media organization in the past two years, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which we use for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses and to train other journalists.

MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

Do you accept leads from the public for your fact-checking initiative?

MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.

Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

Step 3:  Fact-checked claims are then submitted to the editor for copy editing and vetting. The link/s to debunk the claim are always included in the story.  

Step 4: A rating card is prepared to accompany the fact-checked piece, or infographics if needed, to immediately flag readers what the article is all about. 

Step 5: The senior editor takes another look before the article is posted on the website and social media accounts.

Correction Policy

Consistent with our vision and mission as a media institution, we rectify any error committed. If you spot a factual error, you may notify us thru editor@mindanews.com or our Facebook Messenger @Mindanews.

Correction Workflow

  • Errors pointed out are immediately brought to the attention of the editors and the fact-checking team. 

  • The fact-checker is immediately notified for verification. 

  • Once verified, the error is to be corrected within 24 hours and vetted before publication on the website. 

  • Readers will immediately know errors have been corrected through the Editor’s note posted above the article. 

  • The person who notified MindaNews about the error will be informed that the correction has been made.

About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors.

MindaNews values its journalistic independence. It started in May 2001 as a media cooperative and in January 2017 registered as a nonstock, nonprofit media organization.  We do not  accept funding from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.

Editorial staff

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo


Mindanao Institute of Journalism


Board of Directors

President & CEO: Jowel Canuday, D.Phil. (oxon.)
Vice President: Romer S. Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas, M.A.
Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, Ph.D.
Amalia B. Cabusao (Doc Can.)
Robert D. Timonera
Ellen P. Alinea