CONTEXT: Number of airports, seaports, bridges, roads in 'Duterte legacy' graphic

MANILA, Philippines – Following the launch of the "Duterte Legacy" campaign of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) on Friday, January 17, an infographic started going around on social media.

The infographic – which also carries the title "Duterte Legacy" – contains numbers that tout the achievements of President Rodrigo Duterte's administration as of January 9, 2020.

It was shared on social media starting on Friday by Duterte supporters like Mocha Uson, who is currently deputy executive director at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. 

A poster version of the graphic can be seen in video highlights of the campaign launch event uploaded by the PCOO on its Twitter account, as well as on the Duterte Legacy Facebook page. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) also credited the infographic to PCOO in an article on Tuesday, January 21. 

At the lower part of the infographic were the numbers "64 airports," "243 seaports," "2,709 bridges," and "9,845 km [kilometers] of roads."

Administration officials have previously claimed that these numbers are completed projects since Duterte took office. However, not all of those airports, seaports, bridges, and roads are newly built.

These counts include projects involving the repair, rehabilitation, upgrades, widening, or expansion of existing infrastructure. 

Airports and seaports

In a Manila Bulletin column on November 17, 2019 by "Build Build Build" committee chairperson Anna Mae Lamentillo of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the 64 airport projects include the modernization and rehabilitation of Tacloban Airport and the Ormoc Airport, and improvements in some existing domestic airports like those in Camiguin, Virac in Catanduanes, and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan. 

The new completed airport projects Lamentillo mentioned in her column include the Bohol-Panglao International Airport, the Lal-lo International Airport in Cagayan, the Sangley Airport in Cavite, and a new terminal of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

Even here, the Lal-lo International Airport isn't exactly newly-created under Duterte. Also known as the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA), the airport opened for operations in October 2014, according to CAPA Centre for Aviation, which collects market intelligence about the aviation and travel industry worldwide, including profiles of airports and airlines.

A March 14, 2018 article in the PCOO's website also noted that, "Since 2015, the CNIA has been catering to chartered flights regularly." 

PCOO reported that the airport got upgrades in 2017 and 2018 including the "construction of the remaining runway facilities" so that the CNIA can serve commercial flights. The airport received its first commercial flight in March 2018.

In December 2019, Rappler marked as false an earlier claim that the Duterte administration has "built 200 international and domestic airports."

As for completed seaports, a July 2019 press release by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) indicates that the seaport projects – which numbered 200 at the time – includes the extension, widening, and rehabilitation of existing ports. 

Lamentillo's November 2019 column also listed rehabilitation projects alongside newly-built ports – like the Cavite Gateway Terminal and a new terminal building at the Cagayan de Oro Port – among the 243 commercial and social/tourism seaport projects completed under Duterte. 

Bridges and roads

Meanwhile, the 2,709 bridges also include rehabilitation and repairs of current bridges, not just new bridges. The DPWH listed the breakdown itself in a November 15, 2019 PNA article.

"Of the 2,709 bridges, 462 were widened, 108 constructed, 1,642 bridges strengthened, and 155 replaced. About 342 local bridges were also built," said the report, quoting from a statement by DPWH Secretary Mark Villar.

The same goes for the numbers on roads. In the same November 2019 PNA article, Villar said that out of the 9,845 kms of roads, "a total of 1,121 km was maintained, 2,092.89 km widened and 1,361 km rehabilitated and upgraded." – Rappler.com

Michael Bueza

Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.

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