Editor's Pick FACT CHECK PHL Vote 2022 South China Sea: Waters of Contention

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos Jr. falsely claims West PH Sea dispute ‘only became an election issue’ in the May 2022 polls


In his first debate appearance in the campaign for the May 2022 polls, presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. claimed that the West Philippine Sea (WPS) dispute became an election issue only in this campaign.

This is false. Watch this video:

Less than a year after winning the presidency, Duterte dismissed his campaign promise as a “joke.” (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte claims he ‘never mentioned’ PH-China maritime row in 2016 campaign. He did.)

Editor’s note: This article was updated to include the video fact check.

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Manila Times Official Facebook Page, The SMNI Presidential Debate, Feb. 15, 2022

PTV Official Youtube Channel, Mga mangingisda sa Zambales, umaasang mareresolba na ang usapin sa West PHL Sea, April 9, 2014

PTV Official Youtube Channel, Ilang Pilipinong mangingisda sa West PHL Sea, nakararanas ng harassment sa Chinese Coast Guard, April 23, 2015

ABS-CBN News, PiliPinas Debates 2016 (Part 3), April 24, 2016

RTVM, Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ (IBP) 16th National Convention of Lawyers (Speech) 3/23/2017 (transcript), March 23, 2017


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)