FACT CHECK: China has not declared war on PH

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FACT CHECK: China has not declared war on PH
The video falsely suggests that the recent military command conference attended by Marcos at Camp Aguinaldo was to prepare for war against China

Claim: The Philippine military is preparing for battle after China declared war on the Philippines.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made in the thumbnail and title of a YouTube video posted on January 17, which has gained 87,834 views, 1,800  likes, and 457 comments as of writing. 

The video’s title reads: Militar dumating lahat sa Manila! PBBM nagulat sa China! Gyegyerahin na dito! Humanda ang lahat!”

(Military arriving in Manila! PBBM surprised by China! War is coming here! Everyone, be ready!)

Its thumbnail shows images of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Chinese President Xi Jinping along with the text, “Pinagbantaan is PBBM! Humanda ang lahat!” (PBBM was threatened! Get ready everyone!)

The bottom line: There are no reports or official announcements of China supposedly declaring war on the Philippines. The video’s narrator merely suggests that Marcos called for a high-profile meeting at Camp Aguinaldo, involving all military personnel, to allegedly prepare for war.

Marcos presided over the military command conference on January 15 for updates on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s campaigns and programs, not to prepare for battle. During the conference, there was no mention of war threats from China. 

Reconfiguring security approaches: AFP chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said the President instructed the AFP to “reconfigure” its approach for “dealing with different threat groups.” 

Marcos instructed them to “think of new ways, innovative ways” to address “communist terrorist groups, the local terrorist groups, [and] the threats being faced in the West Philippine Sea,” added Brawner. 

Marcos earlier said that a “paradigm shift” was needed in the Philippines’ approach to the South China Sea issue, as “traditional methods of diplomacy” had produced very little progress. (READ: [ANALYSIS] China’s increased coercive activities in the WPS: Recalibrating the PH’s security response)

According to the Philippine Information Agency, this announcement signals a shift of the AFP’s focus from internal security operations to external defense. This comes amid continuing tensions between the Philippines and China, which both claim territory in the South China Sea. Despite a 2016 Hague ruling in favor of the Philippines, China continues to claim almost the entire South China Sea. Andrei Santos/

Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.
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