Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: No combat vehicles, AH-1S helicopters received by PH from Japan


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FACT CHECK: No combat vehicles, AH-1S helicopters received by PH from Japan
There are no reports from either the Philippine or Japanese defense departments confirming the supposed donation

Claim: The Philippines has received 100 combat vehicles and 12 AH-1S helicopters donated by Japan. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has 50,618 views, 927 likes, and 118 comments as of writing. 

The video is titled: “Good News! 100 Combat Vehicles and 12 AH-1S Helicopters Donated by Japan Arrive in the Philippines.”

No official announcements: No official announcements and reports from news outlets nor the defense departments of the Philippines and Japan confirm Japan’s supposed donation and the arrival of combat vehicles and helicopters in Manila. 

Helicopters from Japan: Japan previously pledged to donate helicopters to the Philippine Army. In 2022, then-Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said that Japan would donate UH-1J Huey multirole helicopters, a Japanese variant of the Bell UH-1, “in the coming years” to boost the Philippines’ defense capabilities.

In 2023, Brawner said Japan was looking to donate “usable” and “reliable” helicopters that would be retired from service in the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force. He did not specify the type and number of helicopters.

No new donations:  As of writing, there are no reports of the Philippines receiving new combat vehicles or helicopters from Japan or other countries. 

The Philippines previously received a donation of two secondhand Bell AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters from the Jordanian government, which arrived in the country in November 2019.

In February, Rappler fact-checked a similar claim that Japan donated AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters to the Philippines.


Maritime issues: Rappler has recently debunked multiple claims stating that the Philippines received military assets from other countries. These posts can be linked to heightened tensions between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea Sea. (READ: [EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?)

China has refused to acknowledge a 2016 arbitral ruling that struck down its expansive claims over the entire South China Sea, and in recent months has engaged in hostile acts against Philippine vessels. The Philippines’ allies, including Japan, have condemned China’s actions. Last month, the Philippines, US, Japan, and Australia held a multilateral maritime cooperative activity in the West Philippine Sea.

Legitimate updates regarding military acquisitions can be found on the Philippine defense department’s official website, Facebook page, and X (formerly Twitter) page. Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo 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.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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