VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video FALSELY claims US, PH jets dropped bombs over Scarborough Shoal

Philippine and United States fighter jets dropped bombs in Scarborough Shoal to make China panic.

YouTube channel AMERICAN FUTURE 02/26/2024 False

A joint air patrol between the Philippines and the United States was held on Feb. 19 but no bombs were dropped over Scarborough Shoal. The thumbnail is an altered photo of the Indonesian Navy rescuing a vessel that caught fire in Jakarta Bay in 2022.

The headline and thumbnail of a YouTube video claim that fighter jets of the United States and the Philippines released bombs over Scarborough Shoal and made China panic. This is not true.

The eight-minute and seven-second video that was posted on Feb. 26 continues to draw viewers. It has this headline:

“China panic! US B-52 and FA-50 drops thousand mines bomb in Scarborough Shoal.”

To support its claim, the video’s thumbnail featured three military personnel on a ship as two jets were dropping explosives in the background. Also visible is a vessel that caught fire from a distance. The headline and thumbnail are mere clickbaits.

The video circulated a week after the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and U.S. Pacific Air Forces held on Feb. 19 a combined air patrol in areas within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). No bombings took place.

The video narrator only read a Feb. 21 Air & Space Forces Magazine article about the flyover. There was no mention of the supposed bombing. 

Three FA-50s of the PAF and a U.S. B-52H Stratofortress bomber aircraft participated in the patrol as part of their 3rd Maritime Cooperative Activity within the Philippine EEZ. It covered areas 90 nautical miles west of Candon, Ilocos Sur, and 50 nautical miles northwest of Lubang, Mindoro.

The thumbnail photo was digitally manipulated. It altered an image of Indonesian Navy officers rescuing a fishing vessel that caught fire in Jakarta Bay on April 4, 2022. Photos of B-52 Stratofortress dropping bombs and South Korea’s FA-50 aircraft were superimposed alongside the image.

China claimed that the joint patrol “stirred up trouble” in the disputed area but the Philippines has since rejected the accusation. 

“Our engagements with the United States are well within our rights as a sovereign and independent nation, aimed at promoting maritime security and upholding international law. We reject any assertion from other countries that seeks to undermine our legal and legitimate activities,” National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said in a statement

On March 5, the National Task Force-West Philippine Sea reported that China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels again harassed and deployed water cannons against a Philippine Coast Guard vessel on a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal. 

VERA Files Fact Check has debunked numerous disinformation related to the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines. (Read Australia DID NOT say it will attack China

The video uploaded by the YouTube channel AMERICAN FUTURE (created on March 23, 2017) garnered 35,411 views.

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