Marcos Fact Checks

FACT CHECK: No Marcos declaration of war vs China over West PH Sea incidents

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FACT CHECK: No Marcos declaration of war vs China over West PH Sea incidents
The false claim was made after Chinese vessels blasted water cannons at Philippine ships in the West Philippine Sea earlier in December

Claim: President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has declared war on China over recent incidents of Chinese vessels blasting water cannons at Philippine ships in the West Philippine Sea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made in a December 11 YouTube video, which has gained 121,510 views, 2,700 likes, and 1,130 comments as of writing. 

The video’s title reads: “Umatake na ibang bansa! PBBM nagdeklara na! Gyera na! Rumesbak na America! Nilusob na China!

(Other countries have attacked! PBBM has declared! War is on! America responds! China under attack!)

No war declaration: No official statements have been made via the official social media accounts of Marcos, Radio Television Malacañang, or the Office of the President regarding a supposed order to attack China. The upload of the misleading video comes after back-to-back water cannon incidents in the West Philippine Sea earlier in December.

In a statement, Marcos condemned China’s “aggression and provocations” and said the Philippine government “remains undeterred” in defending its sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the West Philippine Sea. No formal declaration of war or any similar action was made, contrary to the video’s claim.

Chinese aggression: On December 9, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea reported that Chinese Coast Guard ships used water cannons against the civilian vessels of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that were delivering supplies to Filipino fishing vessels near Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal).

“Water cannon actions have resulted in significant damage to BFAR vessel Datu Tamblot’s communication and navigation equipment, as it was directly and deliberately targeted by the China Coast Guard,” Philippine authorities said.

A day later, the Philippine Coast Guard said China fired a water cannon and rammed its vessels during a resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

Diplomatic protests: In response to these incidents, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Teresita Daza said during a press briefing that the Philippines had filed a diplomatic protest against China and summoned the Chinese ambassador to Manila, Huang Xilian. (READ: Philippines ‘wargaming’ Chinese hostilities as sea standoffs intensify)

Since Marcos took office, the Philippines has lodged over 130 diplomatic protests as China continued its acts of aggression in defiance of the 2016 Hague ruling that declared as baseless Beijing’s claim of sovereignty over 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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