Major national news publication Philippine Star has been fact-checked by the Social Weather Stations for “serious error” in their misleading coverage of the West Philippine Sea. The misleading article prompted the government’s social policy research center to release a formal statement demanding PhilStar to publish an erratum.
Apparently, PhilStar’s “SWS: 62% of Pinoy believe AFP can’t defend WPS” reported the exact opposite of the SWS’s findings. Apparently, no one in the editorial board of the major outlet noticed that the article was absolutely false.
According to the SWS’s statement, “the very title of the said article is the complete OPPOSITE of the SWS report.”
The actual figure came from a presentation by SWS Deputy Director for Survey Design, Analysis, and Training, Mr. Vladymir Joseph Licudine at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Cafe Adriatico with Marichu Villanueva press conference on March 4. During the event, Mr. Licudine presented figures from the SWS’ 2019 Fourth Quarter Survey. Here, he told the press that 62% of adult Filipinos have much confidence in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in defending the territories of the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and other places against foreign threats.
It seems PhilStar’s correspondent’s were either not paying attention or were hoping that their readers weren’t.
The resulting article is both misleading and damaging to the reputation of the AFP. But flipping the statistics, PhilStar has cast undue doubts over the capabilities of the Philippine government to protect its territories in the West Philippine Sea region.