Fact checks about countries

FALSE: Philippine armed forces on red alert due to tensions with China

FALSE: Philippine armed forces on red alert due to tensions with China
The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of Defense deny this claim and call it ‘fake news’
At a glance
  • Claim: The Philippine military is on red alert due to tensions with China. The United States, France, Japan, and Australia have sent military aircraft to Clark, Pampanga, to support the Philippines in the event of war. 
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: There are no records, documents, or reports to prove that the Armed Forces of the Philippines raised the red alert level because of tension with China, and that military aircraft from the United States, France, Japan, and Australia arrived in Clark, Pampanga. On April 18, the AFP and Department of National Defense (DND) denied this claim, calling the forwarded message “fake news.” 
  • Why we fact-checked this: A message containing this claim has been circulating on social media and within chat groups recently, stating that it’s a message from “Archbishop Martinez” and “General David.” This claim was emailed to Rappler for verification. 
Complete details

A message containing the claim that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was on “red alert” due to tensions with China, and that military aircraft from the United States, France, Japan, and Australia have arrived in Clark, Pampanga, has been circulating on social media and within online chat groups. This claim was emailed to Rappler for verification. 

The full text of the message reads: “Sent by Archbishop Martinez: FROM GENERAL DAVID. ‘Sabihin po sa lahat na magpray para sa bansa. Naka red Alert ngayon ang AFP gawa ng galit ang China, Maingay ngayon dto sa Clark dahil landing ng mga gamit pandigma from France, USA, Japan at Australia para tumulong kung sakali gumera ang China at Arab country. Pls ask all to pray. Pls pass to all PRAYER WARRIORS.’” 

(Sent by Archbishop Martinez: From General David. “Tell everyone to pray for the country. The AFP is on red alert because of China is mad. It’s frantic in Clark right now because weapons of war from France, Japan, and Australia have arrived to help us in case China and Arab countries attack us. Please ask all to pray. Please pass to all prayer warriors.”) 

This claim is false. 

According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, the message has been circulating on Facebook and other websites since 2016.

Red alert for the AFP means that all military units are ready to be deployed in cases of emergency, and is typically raised in cases of national calamities or rescue missions. There are no records, documents, or reports that prove military aircraft from the United States, France, Japan, and Australia arrived in Clark, Pampanga.

On April 18, the AFP and Department of National Defense (DND) also denied this claim. AFP Chief Cirilito Sobejano said: “We have issued a statement dismissing that SMS as fake news. No such landings or taking off of aircraft from other countries are taking place. The AFP is on normal alert as opposed to the claim of that spurious sender.”

Sobejano also said the false posts “aim to create panic and confusion,” advising the public to remain calm.

Click the links below to read about related claims that we’ve debunked:

– Sofia Guanzon/Rappler.com

Sofia Guanzon is a Rappler intern. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s internship program here.

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