Message to the Filipinos: Photo SCAM at Cebu Bus Crash (Graphic Content)

On Monday morning, (December 16, 2013) a bus fell sideways in Barangay Balhaan, Badian, Cebu (Philippines) killing the driver’s wife and daughter and wounding 32 other passengers according to the Sun Star newspaper’s website.

“Residents near the accident site rushed to help found the bodies of Marlyn Gerson, 41, and her daughter Geralyn, 5. The two held each other in a final embrace. It was Marlyn’s husband Erwin, 42, who was driving when the accident took place at 7:18 a.m., after the bus allegedly sped downhill in Sitio Bangko-Bangko,” writes Sun Star.

Based upon this information – as provided by Sun Star, Inquirer, GMA and other news outlets – it is therefore completely impossible that the following photos are related to this specific bus crash in Cebu:

cebu, bus crash, philippines, photo scam

The above photo is part of this collage that is being spread all over the internet and specifically on Facebook:

ceres, cebu, bus crash, philippines, photo scam

Along with this photo, which is also NOT related to the Cebu bus crash in any way:

ceres, cebu, bus crash, philippines, photo scam

How can we be so sure about the fact that these photos with body parts are not from the Cebu bus crash scene?

Well, that’s very simple to explain.

Quote from the Sun Star:

  • “Residents near the accident site rushed to help found the bodies of Marlyn Gerson, 41, and her daughter Geralyn, 5. The two held each other in a final embrace.”

People who’ve had their bodies separated like in the above photos CANNOT  embrace each other, surely they’d have something else on their minds than embracing someone if they even managed to stay out of a comatose state.

for now, we have found one of the sources of the photos, on Facebook. RIGHT HERE.


Whether this is the original source or not, is not clear. What IS clear though is the fact that this person can be fooled very easily, if not being the one who started to circulate the photo scam.

Why is it so important to address this issue?

Because governments, institutions and corporations already lie enough about many other things without people knowing it, which doesn’t mean that the previous mentioned entities are in any way responsible for the photo scam. It’s easily possible that it’s just a sick joke.

Now, on the same morning there was another bus accident, not in Cebu, but in Manila at around 5:30 a.m.:

  • “18 killed, 16 hurt in bus’ deadly fall from Skyway”
  • “Bus falls off Skyway, scores dead”

In response to the accidents, articles like this one start to appear:

  • “Gov’t urged to maximize P12-B tax for road safety”

Quote from the article:

  • “Senator Ralph Recto on Tuesday called for the ‘wise utilization’ of the multi-billion peso road users’ tax for road safety after 18 people were killed in a bus accident in Taguig City. Recto estimated that of the P11.7 billion collected last year from motor vehicle registration fees, P800 million is the minimum amount available annually for road safety programs.”
  • “Actually, all collections from road user’s tax must be spent for road safety. That’s the end objective. But there’s a provision in the law specifically setting aside 7.5 percent of what’s collected for road safety,” said Recto, the Senate President Pro-Tempore. According to the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 8794, 7.5 percent of the total collections shall be placed in a “Special Road Safety Fund” and earmarked for roadway improvements and repairs designed to reduce traffic problems and accidents.”
  • “Road users’ tax collections, which are expected to hit more than P12 billion this year, are treated as ‘off-budget’ items. This means the details of their spending are not included in the yearly national budget.”
  • “Recto called for the “maximization” of the road users’ tax collections after deadly road accidents hit the country recently.”
  • “The Aquino administration has always prioritized the safety of the riding public.”

Probably as a comment to the very last quote, understandable comments like this one are being posted online:

Ramil: “Why is it that the speed limit in Commonwealth Avenue was reduced to 60 km/hr. in spite of the fact that scores if not hundreds or even thousands already died in Death Avenue? Well. simply because Lourdes “Chit” Estella Simbulan happens to be an award-winning journalist, journalism professor, and press freedom advocate. What if she’s just one of the ordinary Filipinos? Ordinary employee, ordinary student or even scavenger maybe, what would happen to US, ordinary people? Bottom line, Government can act with power and might if it involves someone powerful, popular and if we band together like what we did in PDAF. Otherwise we’ll ended up as statistics PERIOD”

Does Recto’s quote “maximization of the road users’ tax collections” mean raising taxes? Lets hope not, for it’s already hard enough as it is now for the Filipinos to make ends meet. More so after what happened with typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan [1, 2, 3, 4].