Blog site

Imposter site promoting ‘free housing’ scheme in the Philippines misled online

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A graphic purportedly from the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development promoting a “free housing” scheme has been shared thousands of times by social media users in the country. However, the graphic was shared by a Facebook account posing as the country’s welfare agency. An agency representative told AFP there was no “free housing” scheme.

The Tagalog-language graphic was shared on June 24 on a Facebook page called “DSWD” – the initials of the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development.

It translates into English as: “Free housing for the entire Philippines. Register through the link to be included.”

The caption of the post translates to: “FREE ACCOMMODATION!!!!!!!! Good news Message us now.”

The post includes a link to a blog called “DSWD NEWS AND UPDATE”.

The blog promotes a cash offer and features images of Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte – whose terms as chairman and vice-chairman begin June 30.

Screenshot of fake post from June 30, 2022

The identical graphic has also been shared more than 2,400 times on Facebook here, here and here.

Commentators seemed to believe that the Philippine government was offering free housing.

“I hope I will be chosen so that we have our own home,” wrote one.

“Wish we were included…we’ve been renting…for 9 years now,” read another comment.

But Irène Dumlao, the responsible officer from the agency’s social marketing department, told AFP: “DSWD does not have a free housing program.”

Imposter account

Dumlao added that the agency had “no affiliation” with the Facebook account that shared the false claim.

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

The official DSWD page has a blue verification badge, which indicates that Facebook has confirmed that it is an authentic profile.

It premiered on September 7, 2010 and has over a million followers.

In contrast, the impostor page is unverified and only has 24,000 followers. It also claims to be a “personal blog”.

AFP has already debunked similar impostor accounts here and here falsely claiming that DSWD offers cash donations.