Filipinos Share Fake Messages From Government Agency Imposter About Financial Aid For Nalgae Victims

The Philippine Welfare Agency says it is not affiliated with a page that promised 5,000 pesos in financial aid to Filipinos affected by severe tropical storm Nalgae, which battered swathes of the archipelago in late October. 2022. Posts from a page impersonating the agency about alleged aid were shared hundreds of times online after the storm. While the Ministry of Social Welfare and Development offers financial assistance to Nalgae victims, a representative told AFP that the amount varies depending on the agency’s assessment.

The false claim was shared more than 200 times after it was posted here on October 29 through a Facebook page titled “DSWD Ayuda Update”.

DSWDrefers to the Philippine Ministry of Social Welfare and Development, while “Ayuda Update” translates to English as “Aid Update.”

The Tagalog-language message claims that victims of “Paeng” – the local name for Nalgae – could claim 5,000 pesos ($90) in financial assistance through the popular mobile banking app GCash.

“TO THOSE AFFECTED BY STORM PAENG. JUST A MESSAGE HERE,” he said.

“WE DO NOT CALL OR CONSIDER. PROTECT YOUR GCASH ACCOUNT! DO NOT GIVE YOUR (PIN/OTP/CODE) TO AVOID GETTING HACKED!”

Screenshot of the fake message taken on November 16, 2022

Severe Tropical Storm Nalgae caused flooding and landslides across the Philippines in late October — killing more than 160 people.

Scientists have warned that deadly and destructive storms are getting more powerful as the world heats up from climate change.

The Facebook page “DSWD Ayuda Update” also posted similar posts. here and herewhich have been shared over 100 times.

Comments from some users suggest they thought this was a genuine update on ministry help.

“I hope to be chosen. I need money to buy rice and diapers for my baby,” wrote one user who included their GCash number in the comment.

“I really hope that I will be chosen. We have also been flooded along our rice crops. Please God bless you and help us,” said another.

But a director of DSWD’s social marketing department, Marlouie Sulima, told AFP that the “DSWD Ayuda Update” Facebook page is an impostor account.

Impostor Page

“The Department’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts carry the account name/username @dswdserves,” Sulima said.

“Furthermore, DSWD stresses that it is not affiliated with any other Facebook page/page and that official information is only provided in the aforementioned official social media accounts and regional DSWD Facebook pages,” a- he added.

Local media organization Vera Files also debunked the impostor page here.

The DSWD official Facebook and Twitter accounts have verification badges which confirm their authenticity.

In contrast, the impostor page is unverified and claims to be a “video creator”.

Financial aid

According to Sulima, those affected by Nalgae are eligible for financial assistance, the amount of which depends on an assessment by the agency.

He told AFP: “The amount of financial assistance provided to families affected by the severe tropical storm ‘Paeng’ under the Assistance to People in Crisis (AICS) ranges from Php 2,000 ( $35) to Php10,000 ($170) per family, as assessed by social workers.”

He added that full guidelines for storm victims seeking financial assistance were on the agency’s website. here.

AFP has previously debunked similar false claims that DSWD is offering housing and cash donations here, here and here.