Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: No retired warships donated by US to PH


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FACT CHECK: No retired warships donated by US to PH
There are no announcements from the Philippine Navy or the defense departments of either country regarding the supposed donation

Claim: The United States donated 13 of its strongest and largest retired ships to the Philippines.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim was posted on June 20 and has garnered 16,475 views, 376 likes, and 61 comments as of writing. 

The title of the video states: “Ang PH ay tumanggap ng donasyon ng 13 pinakamalakas at pinakamalaking retiradong barko mula sa US (PH receives donation of 13 strongest and largest retired ships from US).” 

Cruiser, Military, Navy

The bottom line: The Philippines did not receive 13 retired ships from the US. No announcements or reports from the Philippine Navy nor the defense departments of the Philippines and the United States confirm the supposed donation.

The video heavily features clips of the USS Robert Smalls (CG-62), formerly known as the USS Chancellorsville. Contrary to the claim, this Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser is still in service with the US Navy. 

Clips of the USS Robert Smalls used in the misleading video were taken from a YouTube video originally posted by the US Navy on May 29, 2015, when the ship was still known as the Chancellorsville. In the original video, the ship was departing San Diego for Yokosuka, Japan, for its deployment to the US 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces.


To be decommissioned: The US Navy earlier announced plans to decommission its 13 remaining Ticonderoga-class warships by 2027. The cruisers are the last of 27 ships that were commissioned between 1983 and 1994. This includes the USS Robert Smalls, which was commissioned in 1989 and is projected for retirement in 2026

There are no announcements regarding plans to donate the decommissioned cruisers. According to Naval News, the ships are slated to become Logistical Support Assets or spare parts sources. They will then be either scrapped or used in sinking exercises.

No new donations: There are no reports of new donations of military equipment from Washington to Manila. In May, the US funded a Coast Guard Repair Facility at the Cavite Buoy Base in Sangley Point. 

Rising tensions: The video, which falsely implied new US support to bolster the Philippine Navy’s maritime capabilities, was posted a few days after the latest clash between the Philippines and China in Ayungin Shoal. 

According to the Philippines’ National Security Council, Chinese vessels performed dangerous maneuvers, including ramming and towing, to disrupt a routine resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal. The collision resulted in a Filipino soldier’s thumb getting cut off after being caught in between Philippine and Chinese boats.

Following the incident, the US reaffirmed that armed attacks on the Philippines’ forces and vessels could be the basis for invoking the Mutual Defense Treaty between the two countries.

The US has expressed its support for its ally amid worsening tensions in the region, with China continuing to reject a 2016 arbitral ruling invalidating its sweeping claims over nearly the entire South China Sea. (READ: [EXPLAINER] South China Sea: Why are China and Philippines tensions heating up?) – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a Rappler intern. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with a major in International Relations and Foreign Service at the University of San Carlos, Cebu.

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