Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: PH not a military superpower in Asia


This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

FACT CHECK: PH not a military superpower in Asia
The Philippines still lags behind Asian giant China in terms of military power and capabilities

Claim: The Philippines has become a military superpower in Asia, thanks to the weapons it acquired from other countries.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim was posted on February 7 by a channel notorious for dubious claims involving the Philippine government and military. As of writing, it has gained 42,426 views, 1,500 likes, and 155 comments.

The video bears the title, “Bakbakan na! Ramdam ng buong mundo ang paglakas ng Pilipinas, ang pag-usbong ng bagong superpower”(Time to fight! The whole world feels the strength of the Philippines, the rise of a new superpower.)

To back up its claim, the video cites the Philippines’ rise in rankings in the Global Firepower Index and its recent acquisition of Brahmos missiles from India, which, it said, were equivalent to the mythological Brahmastra weapon.

The bottom line: The Philippines still lags behind other countries in terms of military strength. Actually, the Global Firepower Index, which the false claim cites, is not even considered credible among experts, according to a 2023 article by Business Insider. The website’s disclaimer page also says that the rankings are not “endorsed by any of its listed sources, any governing world body or military-related organization.”

But even assuming it were credible enough, the 2024 Global Firepower Index already says that the Philippines is ranked 34th out of 145 countries, placing it behind China (3rd) and neighboring Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia (13th), Vietnam (22nd), Thailand (25th), and Singapore (30th). An overview of the Philippines’ military strength shows that it lacks land, air, and water capabilities. 

Contrary to the video’s claim, the Philippines actually slipped in the rankings, as it was at 32nd place in the 2023 index. (READ: FACT CHECK: ‘Military power ranking’ didn’t show PH higher than China)

Not a military superpower: Lowy Institute’s 2023 Asia Power Index (API) describes the Philippines as a “middle power in Asia,” ranking 17th in military capability. Meanwhile, China is described as a “superpower in Asia,” ranking 2nd in military capability. 

The API evaluates power through 133 indicators across eight thematic measures: military capability and defense networks, economic capability and relationships, diplomatic and cultural influence, as well as resilience and future resources. Comparing the two countries, the Philippines is outclassed by China in all eight measures.

BrahMos missiles: The Philippines is expecting the delivery of the BrahMos cruise missile system from India within the first quarter of 2024, two years after the two countries signed a $370-million contract for the Philippines’ first shore-based anti-ship missile system. (EXPLAINER: Philippines to finally get India-made BrahMos missiles – what does it mean?)

The BrahMos missiles have a flight range of 290 kilometers and a top speed of around Mach 2.8 (approximately 3,400 kilometers per hour) and are capable of carrying warheads weighing 200 to 300 kilograms.

Rappler has published fact checks on military-related false claims with dubious sources:

– Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino 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.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!