The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has suspended an “overeager” employee who posted a manipulated or “photoshopped” image of three senior officials inspecting typhoon-ravaged Manila Bay on the agency’s Facebook page.
Bloggers who noticed that the DPWH officials in the photo were “floating” or had been merely pasted on a photo of the devastation site went to town, accusing the government agency of faking inspections.
Others mocked the DPWH by replicating the cut-outs of the three officials and pasting them on iconic scenes, including the Last Supper. The fake photo was also picked up by international media like the Washington Post.
Department Secretary Rogelio Singson apologized. He said the officials did in fact inspect the damage along Manila Bay but had no knowledge of the image on the department’s Facebook page last week.
The employee was not named.
Shared and ridiculed
The photo has since been taken down from the agency’s page but it has already been shared and ridiculed in various sites on the Internet. The three officials in the manipulated photo were DPWH Metro Manila Regional Director Reynaldo Tagudando, South Manila District Engineer Mikunug Macud and DPWH Undersecretary Romeo Momo who supposedly inspected the damaged seawall along Roxas Boulevard.
Presidential spokesperson Ricky Carandang announced that the “overeager employee” who took it upon himself to put out the photo had been suspended.
Momo complained that the image was “put on Facebook without our knowledge.”
“This is big damage for me,” he said. “We became the center of attention. Our picture was played with. We even found ourselves in the Last Supper.”
“My children were texting me because they felt ashamed. Even my cousins in the US sent me text messages,” Momo said.
“We need to point out that we did not give our blessings to this. In truth, I did not know that they were taking a picture of me. We were just walking as part of our job to assess the disaster situation,” he said.
“I don’t know why they enhanced the photo and posted it on Facebook without our knowledge… This is really painful for me,” Momo said.
The DPWH employee blamed for the snafu was summoned to the office of DPWH Undersecretary Jaime Pacanan yesterday afternoon even as Malacañang announced his suspension. With an AP report