Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: UK not donating latest aircraft carrier to PH


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FACT CHECK: UK not donating latest aircraft carrier to PH
There are no announcements from the United Kingdom government confirming that it will donate its latest aircraft carrier to the Philippines

Claim: The United Kingdom will permanently donate its latest aircraft carrier to the Philippines.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim was posted on May 13 and has over 17,643 views and 273 likes as of writing. 

What the video says: At the 1:04 mark, the video shows footage of the HMS Prince of Wales coming into port while the narrator says: “Recently, Britain and the Philippines [were] in the spotlight after reports emerge[d] regarding Britain’s intention to permanently donate its latest aircraft carrier to the Philippines.”

The facts: The HMS Prince of Wales remains on duty with the British Royal Navy. There are no reports from the official Facebook pages of the UK Royal Navy, British embassy in Manila, Philippine Navy, and the X (formerly Twitter) accounts of the HMS Prince of Wales and the UK Ministry of Defense, confirming the alleged donation of the aircraft carrier to the Philippines.

According to a BBC report, the HMS Prince of Wales arrived in Portsmouth Harbor on March 27, 2024. The aircraft carrier arrived in her home base after leading a US Carrier Strike Group during Exercise Steadfast Defender, the largest military exercise of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held in February.

The HMS Prince of Wales is one of the UK’s two aircraft carriers, the other being the HMS Queen Elizabeth. The latter was commissioned on December 7, 2017, while the former, the newer of the two, was commissioned on December 10, 2019.

Inaccurate video: The clip playing while the narrator states the claim was not taken in the Philippines. The YouTube channel Forces News originally uploaded it on March 26, 2024, and shows the aircraft carrier’s return to Portsmouth after operating in the NATO military exercise. 


Maritime issue: The misleading YouTube video mentioned that the alleged donation aimed to beef up Philippine defense amid heightened tensions in the region, as China continues to assert its expansive claims over the entire South China Sea despite a 2016 arbitral ruling in favor of the Philippines. 

The UK has previously expressed its support for the Philippines, condemning China’s “unsafe and escalatory tactics” in the South China Sea and calling on both parties to adhere to the arbitral ruling,  “which are legally binding on both parties.”

The YouTube video was also uploaded a few days after the conclusion of the annual Balikatan exercise of the Philippines and the United States. 

Touted as the “largest” Balikatan held, 16,000 troops from both countries participated in the military exercise. (WATCH: As Balikatan 2024 closes, PH and US plan ‘full battle simulation’ in 2025)

Debunked: This is also not the first time that a false claim was made about the HMS Prince of Wales. Rappler fact-checked a similar post last month, also claiming the alleged donation of the aircraft carrier to the Philippines.

Rappler also debunked several claims on alleged support from the United Kingdom:

– 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 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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