VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Posts on PH submarine acquisition plan MISLEAD with inaccurate photos

At least two Facebook pages and one website used misleading videos and photos in online posts about President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to acquire equipment for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Facebook page President Duterte Federalism Supporters and a netizen from an alleged pro-Duterte group named “Kamaong Bato Pilipinas Inc.” posted Sept. 7 and 10 respectively, a two-and-a-half-minute video featuring the country’s supposed “first diesel-electric submarine.”

The video, captioned “Proudly the Philippines two submarine” and “Proudly the Philippines received two submarine” in the two Facebook posts, was narrated using a computer-generated voice. The footage was a combination of the following clips spliced together:

  • a November 2015 Videoblocks clip of the USS Ohio in Malaysia
  • a November 2015 Shutterstock clip of the same ship; and
  • an October 2017 video of the United States Navy’s nuclear-powered Virginia-class submarine, posted by Youtube channel US Defense News.

These misleading posts were published weeks after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Aug. 9 Russia is willing to loan the Philippines funds to acquire one of their Kilo-class submarines.

On Sept. 15, website also published a similar story, bearing the headline,

Duterte, tuloy-tuloy ang pagpapalakas sa Hukbong Sandatahang Lakas ng bansa! Mga makabagong kagamitan pandigma, ilalaan (Duterte continues to strengthen country’s Armed Forces! Will allocate new military equipment)!”

It carried images of helicopters and submarines.

The photos of seven submarines are screen grabs from a video by Russian defense ministry television network Zvezda of Russia’s Project 636 Varshavyanka-class submarine. There has been no report, however, indicating that such a submarine is the underwater craft Russia is willing to sell to the Philippines.

All three misleading online posts could have reached more than 12.2 million people, with traffic to the stories largely coming from the pages PinasCitizen, The Philippines News and Philippines Reports. was created April 13.

(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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