HOAX: Philippines 'acquires' new amphibious tanks from Japan
Claim: President Rodrigo Duterte “worked hard” to acquire 5 amphibious tanks from Japan.
The claim was posted by Facebook pages “Talk of the Town PH,” “Duterte sa Masa,” and “D Provincial Pal’s;” and in Facebook groups “Tulfo Brothers Worldwide” and “PRESIDENT RODY DUTERTE -FEDERAL MOVEMENT INTERNATIONAL.”
Most of the posts have already been taken down. Those still online, the one posted in the Tulfo page for example, garnered at least 1,900 reactions, 201 comments, and 2,700 shares as of October 8.
Readers also alerted us to this claim.
The facts: The Japanese tanks are in the Philippines for joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippines.
KAMANDAG 2018 (Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat or Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea) is a 10-day “exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States which also features participation from Japan.” The activity held its opening ceremony on October 1 at the Subic Bay International Airport.
Navy spokesman Commander Jonathan Zata confirmed to Rappler that the KAMANDAG 2018 is ongoing. "All forces have respective personnel and equipment that will showcase cooperation and collaboration not only strengthening relationships but also validating tactics, techniques and procedures."
When asked regarding the ownership of the tanks, Zata said that the press releases on KAMANDAG 2018 show that it is "clear as day."
In an image gallery posted by Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS) on October 3, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers (JGSDF) are seen manning one of the amphibious tanks as they are onboard the USS Ashland at Subic Bay. The US Marine Corps, Philippine Navy, and JGSDF are “conducting an amphibious joint-training exercise,” according to the post. DVIDS provides news regarding the US military and is owned by the Defense Media Activity.
According to a September 27 DWDD Katropa Radio post, “amphibious landing crafts” of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) were parked at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone for KAMANDAG 2018. DWDD is the AM radio station operated by the Media and Civil Affairs Group of Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines.
An October 6 Business Insider report on the joint exercises mentioned that Japanese troops "brought armored vehicles with them, marking the first time Japanese armor has landed on foreign soil since World War II."
Facebook page MaxDefense also posted on September 29 that the “AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles” are just in the country for KAMANDAG 2018. It also said the vehicles were “only bought recently by Japan to equip their newly formed Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade.” The page’s administrator is Max Montero who, according to the page’s profile, is a former junior officer in the Philippine Navy. — Miguel Imperial/Rappler.com
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