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FACT CHECK | Application is free: Philippine Army warns aspiring soldiers of fake FB recruitment page

20240312 172148 0000

MindaNews fact-checked a Facebook page recruiting candidates in Mindanao to the Philippine Army that is cloning the real page.

The fake page copied the contents of Facebook page Army Recruitment Office Mindanao to scam recruits.


The Philippine Army had warned applicants on March 8 that there is a fake version of Facebook page Army Recruitment Office Mindanao, and urged the public to report the bogus page to

Facebook so it can take it down and stop victimizing more soldier-applicants.

The fake account, which uses the same Facebook page name Army Recruitment Office Mindanao, has 37K likes and 57K followers as of Tuesday, March 12. Its listed address is Camp Evangelista Patag cagayan de oro city (sic), Cagayan de Oro, Philippines.

As of March 12, the official Army Recruitment Office Mindanao whose handle is https://www.facebook.com/AROMinTheOnlyOfficialPage, has 21K likes and 34K followers. Its listed address is Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, home of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, which separately warned the public of the existence of the fake page.

Screenshot 2024 03 12 at 10.12.50 AM
Screenshot of Army Recruitment Office Mindanao official Facebook page

The fake page has more likes and followers than the official page.

On March 8, the official Army Recruitment Office Mindanao (ARO Mindanao) warned in a post written in Filipino, about the existence of the fake Facebook page, which it said collects payments from applicants.

“Babala! May kumakalat na pekeng Army Recruitment Facebook Page na naglalayong manamantala sa mga aplikante ng Philippine Army (Beware! There’s a fake Army Recruitment Facebook Page that’s scamming applicants to the Philippine Army),” the Army Recruitment Office Mindanao announced.

Muli, nais po naming ipaalala na libre and aplikasyon sa Philippine Army (We would like to reiterate that application to the Philippine Army is free),” it added.

Sergeant Genefe Lagapa, ARO Mindanao assistant administrative non-commissioned officer, said the fake page has victimized a number of young soldier aspirants from Mindanao.

The suspect, who identifies himself as “Techncial Sergeant Mijares,” collects between P250 and P2,500 “based on the complaints that we received from the victims, the amount depending on the case. The suspect accepts payments through GCash using various accounts,” Lagapa told MindaNews on the phone on Tuesday, March 12.

For those who want to be inserted to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test because the quota is already full, the payment is P250, while for those overaged but really want to become a candidate soldier, the suspect demands P2,500, she said.

One of the victims, who personally reported to ARO Mindanao that he was scammed, is from Samar province in the Visayas, Lagapa said, adding “they lost count of the number of victims, mostly from Mindanao, who reported their complaints online or through phone calls.”

The 4ID shared on its Facebook page an English version of the same warning, a few hours after the Army Recruitment Office Mindanao posted it on March 8.

“There’s a fake Army Recruitment Page copying the contents of the legitimate one to scam the applicants,” it said.

 “Let us take action to shut down the fake page and protect everyone so as not to be a victim of such illegal activity,” it added.

As of 4:43 p.m. on March 12, the fake Facebook page has not been taken down.

The 4ID urged the public to stand united against scams and frauds, and safeguard the trust and the well-being of community members.

As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)

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.

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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