Malacañang on Sunday dismissed as “fake news” a supposed memorandum circular on a two-day salary deduction for government workers to establish a relief fund for earthquake victims of Turkey and Syria.
“This is not true,” Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a message to reporters.
Garafil said the Office of the Executive Secretary is also “coordinating with authorities” to investigate the fraudulent memo.
The counterfeit memo was made to look like it was signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin by the authority of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
“The unfortunate earthquake that occurred in Turkey on 6th February 2023 has caused significant human and livestock casualties as well as widespread damage to private homes and public infrastructures. Damage to infrastructure has worsened the humanitarian situation. To extend maximum support to the Turkish government and people to help them cope with the destruction caused by the earthquake, a fund has been established/opened as ‘President’s Relief Fund For Turkey Earthquake Victims’. It is further proposed [that there will be a] deduction of salary from government employees. The President considered the proposal and approved the deductions…” the document read.
It stated that officers and officials working in ministries, divisions, departments, authorities, corporations, companies, financial institutions, and commissions working under the “federal government” will receive a two-day salary deduction.
The fraudulent memo also stated that officers and officials of civil and armed forces, officers and officials holding posts on contract as well as lump sum pay packages, and officers and officials locally recruited in foreign missions will also have a two-day salary deduction.
The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines Facebook account warned of the fake memorandum titled “Two Days Salary Deduction For the Month of March 2023 From All Government Employees For President Relief Fund For Turkey And Syria.”
“Government officials and employees are hereby advised to practice precaution and to observe vigilance against this deceptive information. For more info on Presidential issuances, visit theOfficial Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines Website and Facebook page,” the Official Gazette Facebook post said.
Earlier, Mr. Marcos sent an 87-member Filipino contingent, composed of rescuers and medical personnel, to assist in search and rescue operations in Turkey.
Reports showed that more than 46,000 people have been killed in the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6, with many still missing and several buildings destroyed (see story on A2 – editors).
The death toll in Turkey stands at 40,642 from the quake while neighboring Syria has reported more than 5,800 deaths. Over 108,000 were injured.
Two Filipinos were among the dead, the Philippine Embassy in Ankara said.
The Turkey and Syria quakes rank sixth in the world’s deadliest natural disasters of the century.