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Claim: The Philippines ranks higher than China in the Global Firepower Index which purportedly measures countries’ military strength.
Why we fact-checked this: The Facebook video containing the claim has already garnered 184,000 views, 6,200 reactions, and 601 comments.
What the post shows: The title of the post said, “INGGIT ANG CHINA! Sundalong Pinoy NILAGLAG ANG CHINA Sa RANKING Ng PINAKAMALAKAS Sa ASYA!” (China is jealous! Filipino soldiers overtake China in ranking of Asia’s strongest!)
The video claimed that the Philippines ranked fourth in the list of strongest militaries in Asia while China ranked fifth, according to a recent study by Global Firepower, an organization that tracks and ranks the military ability of various countries.
The video explained that the ranking is based on the number and type of soldiers, weapons, vehicles, planes, boats, ammunition, and other factors related to defense and security.
Incorrect ranking: The video falsely claimed that the Philippines ranked higher than China. The 2023 index shows that China is way ahead of the Philippines, ranking 3rd among 145 countries while the Philippines is at 32nd place.
Even in the Asian military strength index, China is still higher up in the rankings at second place compared to the Philippines’ 16th.
Unofficial, unreliable: The video made it seem that the website that made the ranking is official and credible. However, on its disclaimer page, Global Firepower said its rankings are not “endorsed by any of its listed sources, any governing world body or military-related organization.”
Flaws in the ranking: The Global Firepower list is not deemed credible among experts, according to Business Insider. Alex Kokcharov, a risk analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence, said the ranking reflects “perceptions rather than the actual picture.”
In the same Insider article, Dr. Matthew Ford, an ex-West Point fellow and Associate Professor at the Swedish Defence University, said the ranking misses factors that are crucial in measuring a military’s strength, such as the training and education of its soldiers, its intelligence ability, and the effectiveness of its command structure.
Other military rankings: In other military power indices, the Philippines has also not edged out China. In the Global Militarisation Index (GMI) developed by the Bonn International Center for Conflict Studies, China ranked 98th while the Philippines ranked 131st. In determining a country’s level of militarization, the GMI compares military spending in relation to gross domestic product and health expenditure.
In Lowy Institutes’ 2023 Asia Power Index (API), which included the United States as a power in Asia, China ranked 2nd while the Philippines ranked 17th.
The API evaluates international power in Asia through 133 indicators across eight thematic measures: military capability and defense networks, economic capability and relationships, diplomatic and cultural influence, as well as resilience and future resources. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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