FALSE: 'BRP Duterte aircraft carrier' drives Chinese out of West PH Sea islands
Claim: Facebook page We Speak for Duterte posted the screenshot of a year-old tweet of Twitter user Boom Buencamino which included a meme of the Philippine Navy's supposed aircraft carrier, the "BRP (Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas) Duterte."
The aircraft carrier – described in the meme as the Philippine Navy's most modern acquisition – is supposedly the reason why the Chinese left islands they used to occupy in the West Philippine Sea.
The full text printed on Buencamino's meme reads: "Patuloy ang modernisasyon. Ang BRP Duterte ay ang pinakamodernong aircraft carrier ng Philippine Navy. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit umalis na ang China sa mga sinakop niyang isla sa West Philippine Sea. Walang pantapat ang China! Salamat mahal na Pangulong Duterte."
(Modernization continues. BRP Duterte is the most modern aircraft carrier of Philippine Navy. This is the reason why China already left the islands it occupied in the West Philippine Sea. China is no match! Thank you dear President Duterte.)
Buencamino posted the meme in March 2018 with the caption, "Bakit wala ito sa Rapller (sic), Inquirer, at ABS-CBN (Why is this not in Rappler, Inquirer, and ABS-CBN)?"
Over a year later, on April 4, 2019, We Speak for Duterte posted a screenshot of Buencamino's tweet on Facebook with this caption: "'Wag nyu maliitin ang Administrasyong Duterte (Don't underestimate the Duterte administration)."
We Speak for Duterte's post has since gained around 2,100 reactions, 1,000 comments, and 3,500 shares as of this writing. Readers emailed it to Rappler for verification.
The facts: The Philippines has no aircraft carrier, according to Philippine Navy Spokesperson Captain Jonathan Zata.
A quick reverse image search revealed that the aircraft carrier in the meme is actually the USS Gerald R. Ford, a $13-billion US Navy warship which was commissioned in Norfolk, Virginia, in July 2017.
As of April 2018, there are only 20 active aircraft carriers operating around the world, according to Business Insider. These carriers are from Brazil, China, France, India, Italy, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the US, and Russia.
In the Philippines, the BRP Davao del Sur is Philippine Navy's latest ship, commissioned in May 2017, according to Zata.
The claim that the Chinese have left the West Philippine Sea is also contrary to latest reports of Chinese vessels swarming around Pag-asa Island.
Twitter user Boom Buencamino, which has around 5,000 followers, claims his account is a satire. He also seems to be supporting the Liberal Party. From his responses to his tweet, it appears that he indeed meant the post to be satirical.
Hahaha. Paniwalang paniwala sila paniniwalaan nila kahit ano basta ma-justify lang ang kanilang pag suporta dun sa mamamatay tao at magnanakaw na adik Kapit patalim na sitwasyon nila— Boom Buencamino (@BoomBuencamino) March 28, 2018
Sometimes ridicule is the best weapon— Boom Buencamino (@BoomBuencamino) March 29, 2018
Buencamino's post also included a manipulated version of the Philippine Navy's actual logo which features a sea lion holding a sword atop an anchor. Instead of the sea lion, it featured a man riding on a jet ski, an apparent allusion to President Duterte's unfulfillled campaign promise that he would ride a jet ski to assert the Philippines' rights over the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, the Facebook page We Speak for Duterte, with around 2,000 likes, appears to support President Duterte, based on its posts.
Comments in response to the Facebook post are a mix: while some said the post is fake, others praised the President for good performance. Some even prayed that God will always love and guide him. – Addie Pobre/ Rappler.com
Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at email@example.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.
Newsbreak was built on the tradition of integrity-driven investigative reporting. Furthermore, it aims to engage readers and the community.
You can join the conversation by becoming a Rappler PLUS member.
PLUS members will receive our editorial newsletters and industry reports, get to join online conversations with our award-winning journalists, and be part of our monthly events.
More than that, you will help enable Newsbreak to continue doing compelling and investigative work.
Make your move now. Join Rappler PLUS.