FACT CHECK: Sara Duterte camp belies viral claim on K to 12 change and mandatory military service without pay 

A claim circulating on Facebook that Vice President-elect Sara Duterte will ask Congress to add two more years to the K to 12 Program and include two years of mandatory military service without pay is fake news.

Facebook pages such as Samasa Kontra Mandarambong and Clinton Balud’s Tidbits posted the false claim in a quote card attributed to Duterte, which reads: 

“After my proclamation as Vice-President and immediate assumption as Secretary of the Department of Education, I will immediately asked (sic) the Congress to amend the K12 program to K14+ basic education program. ROTC will be again compulsary (sic) plus two years mandatory service in the AFP without salary. SA IKAKAUNLAD NG BAYAN, DISIPLINA NG KABATAAN ANG KAILANGAN.”

The K to 12 Program covers Kindergarten and 12 years of basic education (six years of primary education, four years of Junior High School, and two years of Senior High School [SHS]) to provide sufficient time for mastery of concepts and skills, develop lifelong learners, and prepare graduates for tertiary education, middle-level skills development, employment and entrepreneurship.

ROTC, on the other hand, stands for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, one of the components of the National Service Training Program designed to provide military training to citizen soldiers in order to motivate, train, organize and mobilize them for national defense preparedness.

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. had designated Duterte as the incoming secretary of the Department of Education last May 11. Marcos and Duterte are running mates in the May 9 general elections.

Christina Garcia-Frasco, Duterte’s spokesperson, denied that the incoming DepEd Secretary has issued a pronouncement involving amending the K to 12 educational program and making the ROTC and two years of military service mandatory for citizens.

“A quote card has been circulating in social media falsely attributing to Vice President-elect Sara Duterte remarks regarding a supposed proposal to amend the K to 12 program and the introduction of ROTC and mandatory service in the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Frasco said in a statement released to reporters covering the Davao City Hall on June 2.

“Vice President-elect Sara Duterte has never released any statements to this effect. The quote card is fake,” she added. https://www.facebook.com/MayorIndaySaraDuterteOfficial/posts/932188210958724

During the campaign trail in January, Duterte was quoted as saying she would ask Congress to push for the mandatory military service of men and women upon turning 18 years old if she gets elected.

She, however, added that they would be given subsidy, contrary to the false claim that they won’t get paid.


Duterte tentatively set her oath-taking as Vice President on June 19 in Davao City. She will formally assume the post on June 30, 2022 and serve as concurrent education secretary.

As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact-check stories. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)

(This fact-check piece was produced with the support of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator Project.)

-- ad here--

About MindaNews Fact Check

MindaNews Fact Check seeks to fight misinformation and disinformation circulating on the internet, news platforms and communities that we serve. 

What is MindaNews Fact Check?

MindaNews Fact Check tracks and debunks fake news, false claims and misleading statements of government officials, civil society leaders and netizens being spread on the internet, especially on social media sites. MindaNews values truth and accuracy in performing our journalistic work.

Why we fact-check?

Politicians, government officials and other public and private figures at times tend to bend facts to suit or advance their vested interests, or their principals, in effect misleading the public. The distorted facts spread easily with the popularity of the internet and the wide influence of social media.

As independent journalists, our primordial duty is to tell the truth and present facts to help the public discern issues and concerns impacting their lives.

How do we rate claims?

FAKE -  if the claim is completely invented.

FALSE - if the claim contradicts, undermines or disputes truthful facts, actual events and official records (i.e. laws and scientific studies)

MISLEADING – if the claim is based on truth but maliciously twisted that gives a different impression to serve a group or individual’s vested interests.

ALTERED – pertains to images or videos that were manipulated to mislead the public.

MISSING CONTEXT – if the claim needs more clarification or contextualization to make it clearer.

Where do you post your results?

We post our fact-checked stories in www.mindanews.com, on Facebook and Twitter with links to the original piece. We have a dedicated fact check page, where all fact-checked stories can be found. 

How did MindaNews Fact Check start?

Since its establishment in 2001, MindaNews has been living up to its vision of being the “leading provider of accurate, timely and comprehensive news and information on Mindanao and its peoples, serving economically, politically and culturally empowered communities” and its mission to “professionally and responsibly cover Mindanao events, peoples and issues to inform, educate, inspire and influence communities.”

MindaNews was founded by reporters precisely to ensure that reports about Mindanao, an island grouping that has suffered misinformation and disinformation long before these words became fashionable, are accurate. 

Our policy has always been to ensure that reports are thoroughly vetted before they are dispatched and uploaded on our website. 

Our fact-checking initiative with a uniform format started in October 2021 as part of Internews’ pioneering Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator (PFCI) project. Internews is an international non-profit that supports independent media from 100 countries. 

Prior to the PFCI project, MindaNews co-founded Tsek.ph, a collaboration among Philippine media institutions to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019. Tsek.ph did the same thing for the 2022 elections. 

Where do you get funds?

MindaNews has sustained its operation through proceeds from subscriptions of its news service  (news, special reports, opinion pieces, photos) and sales of books. It also receives grants from non-state actors.  Editorial prerogative, however, is left entirely to MindaNews. 

MindaNews does not accept funds from politicians or domestic or foreign states for its fact-checking initiative. For the other operations of MindaNews as a media organization in the past two years, we have received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which we use for coverage, staff compensation, administrative expenses and to train other journalists.

MindaNews Fact Check is supported by a grant from Internews.

Do you accept leads from the public for your fact-checking initiative?

MindaNews encourages the public to provide us with leads not only for potential fact-check pieces but other news stories as well of interest to the general public.

Our fact checks include this paragraph encouraging readers to be part of the process: “As with all our other reports, MindaNews welcomes leads or suggestions from the public to potential fact check pieces.”

MindaNews Fact Check - Methodology

What standards do you follow when fact-checking?

As a news organization, we strictly adhere to accuracy, fairness, balance, independence, accountability and transparency not just in our fact-checking initiative but in all other aspects of our work at MindaNews.

We abide by the Philippine Press Institute’s Journalist’s Code of Ethics. Since we became part of Internews’ Philippine Fact-Checker Incubator project, we have been striving to adhere with the IFCN Code of Principles, in step with our organization’s commitment to non-partisanship, transparency and fairness.

We fact-check a claim that is specifically claimed to be a fact and involved the public interest or the welfare of the people. We debunk false claims using official government records, journals or interviews with experts. 

We don’t fact-check opinions.

How do we fact-check?

Step 1: Team members monitor press conferences, speeches, statements, news, interviews, social media sites, etc. for statements worth fact-checking.

Step 2: When a claim is worth fact-checking, a team member looks for multiple sources to dispute the claim, including tracing the original source document.

Step 3:  Fact-checked claims are then submitted to the editor for copy editing and vetting. The link/s to debunk the claim are always included in the story.  

Step 4: A rating card is prepared to accompany the fact-checked piece, or infographics if needed, to immediately flag readers what the article is all about. 

Step 5: The senior editor takes another look before the article is posted on the website and social media accounts.

Correction Policy

Consistent with our vision and mission as a media institution, we rectify any error committed. If you spot a factual error, you may notify us thru editor@mindanews.com or our Facebook Messenger @Mindanews.

Correction Workflow

  • Errors pointed out are immediately brought to the attention of the editors and the fact-checking team. 

  • The fact-checker is immediately notified for verification. 

  • Once verified, the error is to be corrected within 24 hours and vetted before publication on the website. 

  • Readers will immediately know errors have been corrected through the Editor’s note posted above the article. 

  • The person who notified MindaNews about the error will be informed that the correction has been made.

About MindaNews

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MinJourn). It is composed of independent, professional journalists who believe and practice people empowerment through media. MinJourn, which is duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission with registration number CN201700385, is managed by its Board of Directors. 

MindaNews values its journalistic independence. It started in May 2001 as a media cooperative and in January 2017 registered as a nonstock, nonprofit media organization.  We do not  accept funding from politicians, political parties or partisan groups.

Editorial staff

Editor-in-Chief: Carolyn O. Arguillas
Editors: Robert D. Timonera, Bong S. Sarmiento, H. Marcos C. Mordeno
Reporters/Photojournalists: Froilan Gallardo, Antonio L. Colina IV, Ferdinandh B. Cabrera, Roel Catoto, Manman Dejeto, Allen Estabillo, Frencie Carreon, Richel V. Umel, Chris Panganiban
Social Media Manager: Yas D. Ocampo

Fact-checking Unit: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento, Yas D. Ocampo

Mindanao Institute of Journalism Board of Directors

President: Rhodora Gail T. Ilagan, PhD
Vice President: Romer (Bong) Sarmiento

Carolyn O. Arguillas
Jose Jowel Canuday, PhD
Robert D. Timonera

Chief Executive Officer: Jose Jowel Canuday, PhD
Board Secretary: Ellen Alinea
Board Treasurer: Amalia B. Cabusao