Turkey relief fund: 2-day salary cut for Filipino govt employees? Authority clarifies after 'memo' goes viral

The memorandum — which appears to show the letterhead of the Philippine president's office — has gone viral since it was posted a couple of days ago


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Reuters file photo
Reuters file photo

Published: Tue 21 Feb 2023, 2:06 PM

A document that has gone viral on social media is claiming that government employees in the Philippines will be forced to donate two days of their salary to victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. However, this is not true.

Debunking the claim in a statement, the Philippine government's official journal said that the document was not issued by the president's office.

The document was shared on Facebook on February 19, 2023. Its title reads, "Two days salary deduction for the month of March 2023 from all government employees for President (sic) Relief Fund for Turkey and Syria".

Labelled a "memorandum circular", the document appears to show the letterhead for the Office of the President of the Philippines, the signature of executive secretary Lucas Bersamin, and a stamp from the presidential records office.

According to the supposed memorandum, "a fund has been established/opened as 'president's relief fund for turkey earthquake victims'".

It explains that Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos had approved a proposal to deduct two days' worth of salaries from "officers/officials" working under the "federal government", civil and armed forces, foreign missions and contracted employees under several pay scales.

The fake memo was actually manipulated from an official document issued by Pakistan's government in 2022 after massive flooding submerged a third of the South Asian country.

The Philippine government sent a team to help with search and rescue operations soon after the catastrophic 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on February 6.

As of February 14, the government had donated 15.5 million pesos (US$280,000) to aid victims in Turkey.

Negative reactions from Netizens

The purported presidential memo was shared on Facebook alongside a similar claim, attracting mainly negative reactions from social media users.

"I hope this isn't another source of corruption", one commented.

"Paging people in the government: The Filipino people are known for kindness and generosity…but this is not something that can be imposed", another wrote.

The Philippines, however, has not forced government employees to donate their salaries to earthquake victims.

A spokesperson for the Official Gazette — the repository of laws and official presidential issuances in the Philippines — said in a statement that the circulating document was a "fake memorandum".

"The Office of The President and the Office of the Executive Secretary has never issued such 'Memorandum Circular'," it posted on its official Facebook page on February 19.

"Government officials and employees are hereby advised to practice precaution and to observe vigilance against this deceptive information."

A closer analysis of the hoax document found the signature of Executive Secretary Bersamin and the stamp from the presidential records office was lifted from a memo signed on January 20, 2023, and published in the Official Gazette.


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