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Claim: A China Coast Guard (CCG) vessel opened fire on a Philippine Navy ship near Scarborough Shoal last September 10.
Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in post on YouTube channel named Marine Corps. Since the video was uploaded on Wednesday, October 11, it has gained 73,610 views, 698 likes, and 129 comments so far.
The video’s narrator claims that the supposed confrontation resulted in damage to the Philippine gunboat, raising immediate concerns about the safety of Filipino sailors on board.
The facts: The video does not show any proof to support its claim. The alleged incident was not reported either in the official and verified Facebook pages of the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), or Philippine Navy. There were also no reports from the media confirming the supposed incident.
The video implies that the news came from the “Manila Buletin” [sic] and “US Defense News.” However, the websites of these news outlets do not show any such report.
The misleading video contains inconsistencies, such as showing an image of a Philippine Coast Guard ship despite the narrator claiming that it was a Philippine Navy vessel that was bombed. The video of the supposed explosion was also computer-generated.
‘Propaganda’: The video was posted a day after China claimed it had driven away a Philippine Navy vessel from the vicinity of Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, which the Philippines dismissed as “propaganda.”
AFP chief General Romeo Brawner confirmed that a Philippine Navy vessel was in the disputed area, but said the ship continued its maritime patrol mission despite being challenged by the China Coast Guard.
“No, [the Navy ship] was not driven away. So our stand is that it is still China’s propaganda. It’s still propaganda,” Brawner said.
China claims “indisputable sovereignty” over the shoal, which it calls Huangyan Island. The Philippines also claims Scarborough, which it calls Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal.
Rising tensions: Tensions between the Philippines and China have flared in recent months amid China’s continued aggressive actions in defiance of a 2016 arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.
Last August, a CCG vessel blocked and fired water cannons on Philippine ships en route to Ayungin Shoal. China has also been suspected of massive coral harvesting in the West Philippine Sea, put up floating barriers at the southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc, and recently harassed Philippine vessels during a routine resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, the Philippines’ outpost on Ayungin Shoal.
Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about military activities in the West Philippine Sea:
- FACT CHECK: No reports of PH warship destroying Chinese vessel
(July 27, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: No Italian warship sent to West Philippine Sea
(July 13, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: No Japanese ship sent to West Philippine Sea
(July 8, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: PH did not attack Chinese warship in West Philippine Sea
(May 13, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: No reports of EU ship attacking China in Ayungin Shoal (August 3, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: Video shows altered 2021 photo of Chinese ship in Indonesia (September 29, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: No reports of Philippine Air Force destroying China’s drone in Pag-asa Island (October 9, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: Report on US missiles hitting Chinese warship is fake (October 10, 2023)
– James Patrick Cruz/Rappler.com
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