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Philippines: Fake Government Photo Spawns Meme

Online furor over a Philippine government agency's Facebook page posting of a fabricated photo showing its officials inspecting a typhoon-struck street has spawned a meme, wherein netizens make their own versions with officials superimposed on different other locations.

On September 28, 2011, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) uploaded an edited photo showing DPWH officials inspecting damage from Typhoon Nesat (local name is Pedring). The photo caption reads:

DPWH INSPECTS COLLAPSED SEAWALL AT ROXAS BOULEVARD. DPWH Undersecretary Romeo S. Momo with NCR Director Reynaldo G. Tagudando and South Manila District Engineer Mikunug D. Macud inspect the extent of the damaged seawall in Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard caused by Typhoon Pedring.

The DPWH quickly pulled the controversial photo and issued an apology after irate bloggers criticized the fabrication of the field inspection's documentation to project a good image to the public:

We profusely apologize for any inconvenience that may have caused them and the general public. Rest assured that we shall exert more diligence and prudence in the execution of our mandate to inform the public of our plans, programs, projects and official activities.

Said enhanced photo was not the official photo release of the Department.

But we would like to inform the public that the three officials were actually on site as part of the Department’s Post Disaster Assessment activities.

But the damage has been done with Pierre Albert San Diego of the blog Controlled Chaos exposing the trick:

I re-checked the image and concluded that DPWH fabricated this picture. Why they had to edit it and not just simply compose a photo with all three guys, I do not know. Although my evil mind tells me that the DPWH wants a pogi photo showing their bosses in deep thought while assessing the disaster site, and they didn’t have the opportunity to pose because those guys were probably there for 15 minutes max – so they just lasso tooled the hell out of that pic.

Here are my findings on how lame this photo was ‘shopped.

He adds that the matter only shows the persistence of “utak wangwang” or a culture of impunity and corruption that the Aquino government has repeatedly promised to stamp out from its ranks:

Some say this is a very minor issue, but I see this as a nice sample of DPWH’s lack of integrity. If they can fabricate simple things like this, just imagine what these guys can do to progress billings and acceptance of projects. Also, while relatively mild, isn’t this a classic example of “Utak Wangwang?” While unethical and unnecessary, they thought they could get away with fabricating photos so they tried to.

Netizens have created the Facebook page DPWHERE collecting photoshopped images of the DPWH officials superimposed on different images. The Ayson Chronicles selects a sampling of what he considers an “editor's choice” of the DPWHERE postings:

*Plop* Culture also posts some more funny DPWH photos:

The Indolent Indio has also uploaded what he calls “a fund exploitable” photo of the three officials and encouraged his readers to join the “DPWH meme”:

Where will our Public Works officials turn up next? Send us your shopped pics at indolentry at indolentindio dot com or onetamad at indolentindio dot com!

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