VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video of ‘army ambush’ in Mindanao MISLEADING

A video circulating on social media that purports to show the current military situation in Mindanao is misleading.

The two-and-a-half-minute clip, uploaded on Feb. 15 by Facebook page Davao Secret Confessions, featured a man in combat uniform taking a video of himself and several others engaged in a shootout on a grassy field. It was captioned:

Habang busy ang lahat ng kandidato sa election, ito ang nangyayari sa mindanao. Aktual na ambush sa mga sundalo. Ito ang issue na hindi manlang nailathala sa media (While all the candidates are busy with the elections, this is what’s happening in Mindanao. Actual ambush of the soldiers. This is an issue that doesn’t even get reported by the media).”

Davao Secret Confessions’ footage is at least four years old.

It can be traced back to a video uploaded by a netizen in September 2014, which described it as “actual video footage of the ambush of one military platoon group, 18IB Infantry Army Division” in Mindanao.

The netizen credited the page “OFW – Overseas Filipino Workers & Family Multipurpose Cooperative” for the video, but a search through the page’s uploads fails to turn up a copy of the video.

Davao Secret Confessions’ online post surfaced three days after the Supreme Court deliberated on petitions challenging the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019. On Feb. 19, the SC affirmed the extension.

Duterte had put Mindanao under martial rule when military troops clashed with terrorist Maute group in Marawi City in May 2017. Despite declaring Marawi “liberated” from terrorists that October, Duterte has sought and has been thrice granted an extension of martial law on the island.

The video clip has been shared over 29,000 times and could have reached over 929,000 people; its top traffic generators are the Davao Secret Confessions page itself, MARCOS LOYALIST, and REAL Philippine History.

Davao Secret Confessions was created on April 21, 2017.

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