VERA FILES FACT CHECK: PH DID NOT destroy 300 Chinese fishing vessels in WPS

The Philippines’ F-15 jets destroyed 300 Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

YouTube channel Marine Corps 2024-01-15 False

There are no reports of the Philippines sinking 300 Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines currently does not own F-15 fighter jets. The video also exaggerated a 2016 Reuters report and used an altered photo as a thumbnail.

A YouTube video claims that the Philippines sank 300 Chinese fishing vessels amid rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea. This is not true. The video used and edited a report about the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) arrest of 10 Chinese fishermen in 2016.

Posted on Jan. 15, the nine-minute and 8-second video claims that the Philippines’ F-15 fighter jets destroyed the Chinese fishing fleet “to enforce maritime boundaries and protect the country’s territorial integrity.”  This was supposedly reported by Reuters correspondent Manuel Mogato and edited by Nick Macfie. 

The video’s headline read: 

“Tense! 300 China fishing vessel destroyed by Philippine F 15 jets in West Philippine Sea.” 

Its thumbnail also shows a fighter jet on the left and a boat carrying a Philippine flag in front of fishing vessels on fire.

This scenario is fabricated. There are no reports of the Philippine forces sinking Chinese ships in the disputed area. 

The Philippines did not sink 300 Chinese fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea nor does it own F-15 jets which a fabricated video said were used in the sinking incident.

The video edited a 2016 Reuters report and used an altered photo as a thumbnail.

The voice-over read out a 2016 Reuters story on the PCG arresting ten Chinese fishermen. But it edited the report to claim that PCG arrested 100 Chinese fishermen illegally operating in Philippine waters. 

It also erroneously changed “2013” in the story to “2023” as the year when the PH filed an arbitration case against China in the Hague. Further edits include falsely attributing a lieutenant’s statement to Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro. 

The video then inserted fabricated details on the Philippines deploying F-15 jets to sink Chinese fishing vessels. The Philippines currently does not own any F-15 fighter jet, according to the Philippine Air Force’s website

The thumbnail photo was also altered. The original image published by Antara Foto shows Vietnamese fishing boats sunk by the Indonesian government in West Kalimantan on May 4, 2019. 

According to an OCTA Research survey released last December, the majority of Filipinos agree with the administration’s policies and programs in addressing the territorial disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea. A significant majority of Filipinos also favor a dual approach of diplomacy and military action when it comes to asserting territorial rights in the disputed area. 

Military-related disinformation like this continues to spread online. Last year 71 out of 410 fact-check articles published from Jan. 1 to Dec. 8, were related to the West Philippine Sea, the South China Sea and China. (Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK YEARENDER: More West Philippine Sea disinfo washes ashore in 2023 as PH-China tensions flare up)

YouTube channel Marine Corps (created on Oct 29, 2014) video garnered 27,987 views and was also shared on Facebook.


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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.)