Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: No US, Ukraine aircraft carriers in PH


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FACT CHECK: No US, Ukraine aircraft carriers in PH
No official reports confirm the claim. The misleading video also uses outdated footage of the USS Gerald R. Ford, which returned to its homeport in January 2024.

Claim: Aircraft carriers from the US and Ukraine have arrived in the Philippines. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a Facebook reel video posted by a page with other dubious military-related content. 

The video shows images of aircraft carriers along with the text “Ukraine/USA nasa Pilipinas na” (Ukraine/USA now in the Philippines). As of writing, the video has over 17,100 reactions, 982 comments, and 895 shares. 

The facts: No official reports confirm the deployment of any warship or aircraft carrier from the US and Ukraine to the Philippines. 

There have been no announcements from the defense departments of the US, Ukraine, or the Philippines regarding the supposed arrival of these aircraft carriers.

Not in PH: Using reverse image search, the ship shown in the video is the US Navy’s $13 billion USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), the world’s largest aircraft carrier. Commissioned in July 2017, it is the lead ship in the Ford-class of aircraft carriers and is one of the most technologically advanced aircraft carriers in the US Navy’s fleet, boasting features such as advanced arresting gear and an electromagnetic aircraft launch system.

Contrary to the video’s claim, the Gerald R. Ford is nowhere near the Philippines. It returned to its homeport of Naval Station Norfolk last January 17, 2024, following an eight-month deployment to the US Naval Forces Europe area of operations, according to a US Navy press release

Old footage: The Facebook reel also uses old footage and does not show the aircraft carrier recently arriving in the Philippines. The clip of an explosion shown in the Facebook reel was taken from an August 2021 video posted on the US Navy’s official YouTube account showing the full ship shock trials of the USS Gerald R. Ford in the Atlantic Ocean

Meanwhile, the clip shown at the start of the Facebook reel was originally from the 42-second mark of a November 2022 Naval News video. The original video showed news coverage of the inaugural deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford. 

PH and US relations: The video was uploaded amid heightening tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea. Last month, China Coast Guard vessels used water cannons against a Philippine vessel, damaging the boat and injuring Filipino crew members.

The US has vowed to support the Philippines amid China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the vast waterway. In March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to its ally and stronger Philippine-US bilateral ties. US lawmakers and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin also expressed support for the Philippines in defending its sovereign rights. 

Beijing continues to assert its expansive maritime claim, rejecting a 2016 Hague ruling in favor of Manila. – Rappler.com

Jed Nykolle Harme is an associate editor at Eamigas Publication, and is a #FactsMatter Journalism Fellow for 2023-2024

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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