VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post on Duterte ‘acquiring’ country’s first warship NEEDS CONTEXT

The acquisition of the country’s first missile-capable frigate was not initiated under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, contrary to a Facebook (FB) page’s post.

Ta Tak Mindanao published on Feb. 26 a photo album with 41 images showcasing the “accomplishments” of Duterte, who took office in July 2016. It was captioned:

Team Duterte lang talaga ang may malasakit sa Bayan! Kaya guys plss wag kayong mag bulag bulagan.. ngayon lang talaga ako naka ramdam ng maraming nagawa sa Bayan (Team Duterte is really the only one who cares for the people! So guys, don’t turn a blind eye. Only now have I really felt someone has done a lot for the country)..”

The eleventh photo in the album is an image of the BRP Jose Rizal docked in South Korea. A copy of the original image found on Wikipedia shows it was uploaded on the Philippine Navy site on May 23, 2019. Ta Tak Mindanao’s image was superimposed with the text, “The country’s first missile frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal ⁰⁰⁰⁰(FF-150).”

While the purchase contract between the Philippine government and Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd (HHI) for the two new frigates was signed after Duterte came into office, the acquisition was initiated during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III under the Frigate Acquisition Project (FAP).

The FAP is a “key piece” in the military's modernization program to boost its territorial defense capability. The former chief executive first announced the P75 billion military modernization plan in May 2013. Bidding for the supply of the two frigates took place in October of the same year, according to a bid document on the DND site.

The acquisition contract for the two frigates was signed by defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana with HHI in October 2016, three months after President Duterte took office.

According to news reports, former Navy chief Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad said BRP Jose Rizal is expected to be delivered this April while the second frigate, BRP Antonio Luna, will come in September, way ahead of the original schedule.

Ta Tak Mindanao’s incomplete information was published after BRP Jose Rizal’s main gun test firing in South Korea was deemed successful according to a Feb. 23 post on the AFP’s official FB page.

VERA Files Fact Check has previously debunked another photo in Ta Tak Mindanao’s photo set for being misleading. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: FB post MISLEADS with ‘before and after’ rehab photo of Manila Bay; both were taken under Duterte's watch)

The inaccurate post about BRP Jose Rizal has been re-shared for over 40,000 times, garnering 13,000 likes, with 1,400 comments.

Ta Tak Mindanao was created on Nov. 11, 2018.

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

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