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FACT CHECK: No reports of PH warship destroying Chinese vessel


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FACT CHECK: No reports of PH warship destroying Chinese vessel
The video bearing the claim did not provide proof confirming the supposed incident near the Ayungin Shoal between the BRP Antonio Luna and a Chinese Coast Guard ship

Claim: The Philippine Navy’s missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF151) destroyed a Chinese Coast Guard vessel near the Spratly Islands during a standoff.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has over 77,000 views as of writing. It was posted on July 26 by a channel with over 26,000 subscribers.

The video claims that the standoff happened near the Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal) in the disputed Spratly Islands when a Chinese Coast Guard vessel confronted the BRP Antonio Luna which was conducting a routine patrol in the area.

The bottom line: The video didn’t show any proof of the supposed incident and only showed clips unrelated to the claim.

There are no official reports from the Facebook pages of the BRP Antonio Luna, the Philippine Navy, or the Department of National Defense confirming that the Philippine warship destroyed a Chinese vessel. There are also no reports from government and media sources confirming that such a standoff happened recently near Ayungin Shoal. 

Recent incidents: There have been several incidents of Chinese aggression near Ayungin Shoal, a submerged reef located in the West Philippine Sea, or the part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. However, claims of Philippine vessels attacking Chinese ships are false.

Last June 30, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels were “constantly followed, harassed, and obstructed by the significantly larger Chinese coast guard vessels” while on a resupply mission for Philippine Navy troops stationed at Ayungin Shoal, The Straits Times reported.

This comes two months after the PCG reported a near-collision with a Chinese Coast Guard ship near the shoal.

One of PH’s most advanced ships: The BRP Antonio Luna is one of the Philippine Navy’s most advanced warships. It arrived in Philippine waters in 2021 and is the Navy’s second frigate with missile capabilities, the first being BRP Jose Rizal, which the country received in 2019.

Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims about military activities in the West Philippine Sea:

– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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 #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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