Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: No statement from Tulfo on banning all products from China


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FACT CHECK: No statement from Tulfo on banning all products from China
The senator suggested discarding Chinese-made computers and communication equipment used by the Philippine military – not a blanket ban on all Chinese products

Claim: Senator Raffy Tulfo proposed banning all Chinese-made products in response to Beijing’s continued acts of harassment in the West Philippine Sea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a YouTube video posted by the channel BALITA NI JUAN on August 12 which has gained 21,000 views and 755 likes as of writing.

According to the video, Tulfo called for a ban on all products coming from China as a form of retaliation against the Asian superpower’s bullying in the West Philippine Sea. 

The bottom line: Tulfo did not make such a statement proposing an outright ban on all products made in China.

The video used clips from an August 7 hearing held by the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation, which tackled issues related to the country’s defense posture.  

During the hearing, Tulfo aired his concerns about Chinese-made computers and telecommunication facilities being used in Philippine military camps and proposed that these be discarded. Contrary to the video’s claim, Tulfo did not call for a blanket ban on all products from China.

The senator said in Filipino: “Please, let’s dismantle the computers from China that are now in military facilities and properties. Remove them immediately. And as for the telecommunications facilities constructed by China, cancel the contracts and expel the firms from the country.”

Telco facilities: In 2019, the Armed Forces of the Philippines allowed the Mislatel consortium to build telecommunications facilities in Philippine military camps and installations under the brand Dito Telecommunity. At the time, former senator Kiko Pangilinan voiced concerns about the facilities by the Chinese-backed telco, saying this presented a significant threat to the Philippine military.

“The Philippine government has not only allowed the Chinese telco on our soil, it has laid the red carpet for Dito Telecoms inside our military camps,” Pangilinan said.

Recent tensions: The Senate hearing and the upload of the misleading video came amid heightened tensions between the Philippines and China. On August 5, a Chinese coast guard vessel blocked and fired water cannons at Philippine vessels heading to Ayungin Shoal during a resupply mission.

This was China’s latest act of hostility against the Philippines as Beijing continues to assert its expansive maritime claims despite the 2016 arbitral ruling in favor of Manila. Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

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.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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