FACT CHECK: Metro Manila, not PH, recorded 30% crime dip in May 2018

Claim: Crime in the Philippines decreased by 30% under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration

The blog weblogph.tk in their May 29 post ran the headline, "Bumaba ng higit kumulang na 30% ang krimen sa Pilipinas sa ilalim ng pamahalaang Duterte" (Crime in the Philippines decreased by around 30% under the Duterte administration).

The blog post contained a reuploaded May 28 video from United News International (UNI), a global news agency founded in 2013. UNI posted the video on its Facebook page with the caption, "Crime dips in Philippines under Duterte in 2018."

The blog post was shared by two Facebook pages which have a total of 710,941 followers. Within these pages, the post has generated 121 total interactions as of May 31, 2018.

Both weblogph.tl and goodnewsnetworkph.com reuploaded UNI's May 28 Facebook video report in their blogs without additional text or details.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson shared the goodnewsnetworkph.com post on her Facebook page. Her post received 12,000 likes and reactions and 2,380 shares as of May 31, 2018. The post was captioned, "GOOD NEWS!!! Share the good news at labanan ang fake news ng bleeding hearts (and combat the fake news of bleeding hearts)!" referring to the opposition.

The facts: (UPDATED) Both the whole country and Metro Manila experienced a decrease in the crime rate so far during the Duterte administration. However, the report in the video and the headline of the blog post do not match.

As reported in the video, Metro Manila had a 30% dip in crime incidents based on the focus crimes recorded on May 14-20 according to National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) Regional Director Camilo Cascolan at a press briefing on May 25. It is the region's lowest weekly crime rate since the start of Duterte's term, said the NCRPO.

May 14-20, 2017 had 329 focus crimes, while May 14-20, 2018 only had 231.

The blog post headline made it appear that all crimes in the Philippines under Duterte's term so far went down by 30%, when the video covered only focus/index crimes in Metro Manila for May 14-20, 2018.

Nonetheless, in the first 11 months of 2017, the Philippines experienced a 21.8% decrease in recorded index crimes compared to 2016 figures in the same period. The figures for all index crimes went down in 2017 versus 2016, except for homicide. Homicide increased by 14.6%, with 2,082 killings recorded in 2016 climbing to 2,386 in 2017.

There is no readily available data for the national crime rate for May 14-20, 2018 and for the same period in 2017.

"Focus crimes" include murder, homicide, rape, robbery, theft, physical injury, carnapping of motor vehicle and carnapping of motorcycle. Focus and index crimes are of the same definition, according to Philippine National Police Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao.

These crime numbers, however, have to be taken in the context of public criticism over the Duterte administration's approach to its ongoing "war on drugs." 

The Philippine National Police (PNP) said 4,279 drug suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to May 15, 2018.

In addition, from the start of Duterte's term until September 2017, the PNP reported 16,355 homicide cases under investigation. It is unclear how many of these cases are already solved, nor which of these were incorporated in PNP's crime statistics.

Meanwhile, the UNI video and its accompanying Facebook post also contained some issues.

The headline flashed at the start of the UNI video read, "Metro Manila Crime Drops." However, the caption on its Facebook post for the video was different: "Crime dips in Philippines under Duterte in 2018."

The presenter in the video also read the claim with a rather confusing sentence construction: "Metro Manila experienced a nearly 30 percent decrease in crime in the Philippines from a year ago."

The inclusion of the phrase "in the Philippines" may confuse viewers and misinterpret the news report to say that the national crime rate decreased by 30%, instead of Metro Manila only.

The blog weblogph.tk in their company profile stated that it is their "responsibility to deliver reliable articles and avoid false information." – Miguel Imperial/Rappler.com

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