VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Arrival of Philippines’ first nuclear submarine NOT TRUE

A YouTube video claimed the Philippines’ first nuclear submarine has arrived. This is not true. The Philippines has not acquired any submarine nor has there been one that arrived in the country recently.

The false video was uploaded on Oct. 25,  and was also shared on Facebook (FB). It bore the headline: 

Ang Unang Nuclear ng Pilipinas Dumating Na! Sandatahang Lakas ng Pilipinas Papantay na sa China (The first nuclear (submarine) of the Philippines has arrived! The Philippines’ Armed Forces will now be on par with China).” 

The video’s thumbnail showed a photo of Suffren, France’s nuclear-powered attack submarine, during its 2019 launching at Cherbourg, published by Marine Internationale.

It also featured a photo of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and a similar text on the submarine’s supposed arrival. 

The voiceover at 00:40 minute mark claimed that France “sent two nuclear-powered submarines for the Philippines.” This is false. There are no official reports on any arrival of submarines from France. 

The video showed no evidence to support the claim either. It only discussed Oct. 18 media reports, citing Defense Officer-in-Charge and Senior Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. saying that France has offered to build two diesel-electric-powered submarines for the Philippines, not nuclear-powered ones. This is supposedly in exchange for allowing them to explore the country’s sovereign waters. 

Defense Spokesperson Arsenio Andolong on Oct. 19 clarified that while France is among the countries interested in selling submarines to the Philippines, there is no such exchange offer. 

“There is no truth to the report that there is an offer to the Department for submarines in exchange for permission to explore Philippine waters,” Andolong said. 

The video also discussed an earlier news report about France’s willingness to help the Philippine Navy acquire submarines. Andolong said in the recent clarification that submarine procurement is not a priority of the Defense Department at this time.

The continuing modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is also in line with the country’s maritime disputes with China over the West Philippine Sea. 

The video posted by previously fact-checked YouTube channel Sa Iyong Araw (created on April 2, 2021) garnered 45,859 views. The link to the video was posted on FB by several netizens and shared on FB groups like BBM/SARA Uniteam 2022 (created on Nov. 21, 2021 as BBM/SARA President/Vice President elected 2022) and TROPANG MAY PUSONG NOVO VIZCAYANOS (created May 12, 2022 as Novo Vizcayanos). YouTube Channel MAVS TV’s (June 4, 2020) commentary on the video with the same false headline also garnered 13,508 views. 

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)