Fact check: Photo of Korean ‘commuters’ queuing for visas


MANILA, Philippines — A Facebook post compared the situation of commuters in three countries, including the Philippines, amid vigorous calls for better transportation in Metro Manila.

CLAIM: A Facebook page titled “President BBM Supporters” claimed that commuters in South Korea, Japan and Manila all faced long queues for transport journeys.

The claim was raised in defense of the commuter crisis in Metro Manila, with administration supporters pointing out that commuters across Asia are believed to be struggling.

EVALUATION: This is fake.

FACTS: The photos do not actually show commuters queuing for public transport in these countries.

What the message says

The post made a collage of photos from South Korea, Japan and Manila where commuters are believed to be queuing for transport.

The photo taken from Manila showed travelers waiting for a ride at the EDSA bus carousel with a pasted screenshot of comments saying they blamed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for the line of commuters.

It was captioned: “Rush hour commuters in the Philippines, South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile in the Philippines, still mahabang pila. Kawawa daw sabi ng alagad ni Santa Leni.

(Meanwhile in the Philippines, they don’t like long lines. Saint Leni’s followers say they are miserable.)

Screenshot by Philstar.com, July 20, 2022

What he left out

A reverse image search on Google showed that the photo of South Korea is actually from the Asahi Shimbun Digital website showing those in line for the Korean Embassy. It was also not taken in South Korea.

Google translated its caption to: “In front of the consular section of the Korean Embassy, ​​there was a line of about 100 meters.”

The photo was taken by Yuko Kawasaki, Minato-ku, Tokyo at 8:48 a.m. June 2, 2022.

The photo purporting to show Japanese commuters was posted by the Japan Moments page which shows “respect and discipline” in the country.

Essential context

President Marcos says the free bus rides at the EDSA carousel will last until the end of the year, but the project is plagued not only by long queues of commuters, but also by payment delays for drivers.

Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista admitted the government has yet to find funding sources for the 1.4 billion pesos needed to keep the program going.

Lawmakers are also pushing for a legislative inquiry into allegations of illegal dismissal and delayed wages for years as a bus driver.

“Transport workers from the ES Consortium and the Mega Manila Consortium, who operate the buses that use the EDSA bus carousel, have suffered abuse from their former employers and lack of reprieve from the government,” the resolution tabled by the Makabayan bloc reads.

“Besides the late payment of salary, the EDSA carousel bus drivers and conductors were also forced to travel from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m., a total of almost 6 to 9 p.m. [of] work per day.”

Survey results by transportation advocacy network Passenger Forum also found that 79% of respondents agree their wait time for a ride is too long, while 96% disagree to say that the number of public utility vehicles on the road is sufficient to serve commuters.

Why is this important?

The post, which has fallen under Interaksyon’s cursory scrutiny, already has 1,500 reactions, 293 comments and 212 shares.

This not only minimizes the woes of our commuters, but also of the drivers who ply the roads for long hours under the government scheme. — with testimonials from Franco Luna, intern Cristina Chi

This story is supported by the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news outlets in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Philstar.com is also a founding partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative fact-checking project for the 2022 elections in the Philippines and an initiative of universities, civil society groups and the media to counter misinformation and provide the public verified information.

Want to learn more about our fact-checking initiative? Check out our FAQs here. Do you have a claim you want to verify? contact us at [email protected]


Comments are closed.