A video with tens of thousands of views falsely claims the Philippines is “debt-free” after outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte settled a multi-billion dollar loan in May, a development that the video accuses local media of ignoring. However, data from the Philippine treasury show the claim is baseless, while various news organizations reported on the loan payment that only covered a fraction of the country’s total debt.
“The Philippines is now debt-free! Duterte settled them! But this was not reported by ABS, GMA, Rappler!” reads the Tagalog-language title of a video posted on YouTube on May 22.
The video, which has more than 54,000 views, shows a woman making the same claim.
She accuses media organizations ABS-CBN, GMA News, and Rappler of “bias” against Duterte and says they failed to report that his outgoing government settled a 300-billion peso ($5.6 billion) loan to the country’s central bank in May.
Responding to the posts, a representative for the Philippine Bureau of Treasury, which manages the country’s debt portfolio, said the claim was false.
“It’s obvious that it is not true. We still have debt,” the spokesperson told AFP on June 15.
The country’s outstanding debt has been registered at 12.76-trillion pesos ($240 billion) according to a June 2 report from the treasury bureau.
Read the full story on AFP Fact Check.