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Video uses misleading images, falsely claims PH received ‘aid’ from British destroyer

The Philippines has not received “humanitarian aid” from HMS Bristol, a destroyer ship of the British Royal Navy, contrary to what a video posted on YouTube claims.

The clickbait title of the video posted on Dec. 5 by the YouTube channel Tech-89M said:

Nakatanggap ang Pilipinas ng tulong mula sa Most Dangerous destroyer mula sa England nang libre (The Philippines received help from the most dangerous destroyer from England for free)

It was referring to the HMS Bristol, a destroyer ship of the British Royal Navy commissioned in March 1973 and permanently berthed at Whale Island in Portsmouth, England before its decommission on Oct. 28, 2020. 

The video also said starting at the 1:20 mark:

Inanunsyo ng British Embassy sa Manila ang deployment ng HMS Bristol para magbigay ng humanitarian aid at suporta sa Pilipinas sa kahilingan ng lokal na pamahalaan (The British Embassy in Manila announced the deployment of HMS Bristol to provide humanitarian aid and support to the Philippines at the request of the local government).

It added: 

Sa magkasanib na pahayag, binigyang-diin ni Pangulong Marcos Jr. at ng British Ambassador sa Pilipinas na si Kate Smith ang kahalagahan ng pandaigdigang kooperasyon sa pagtugon sa mga ibinahaging hamon (In a joint statement, President Marcos Jr. and British Ambassador to the Philippines Kate Smith, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in addressing shared challenges). 

No announcement on the supposed aid or assistance can be found on the Philippine Navy’s website and official Facebook page nor on the official Facebook page of the British embassy in the Philippines. 

There was also no joint statement from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the British ambassador to the country, who happens to be Laure Beaufils, not Kate Smith as mentioned in the video.

Smith is the British ambassador to Greece from 2017 to 2021, according to the website of the United Kingdom government. 

Aside from factual errors, the video used misleading images.

The video’s thumbnail features HMS Bristol docked in an unidentified port with the Philippine flag hoisted in the bow of the ship. However, a reverse image search reveals that the photo was taken in Whale Island in Portsmouth, England, according to a version of the image uploaded in Wikimedia. Metadata of the image also reveals that it was taken on Aug. 2, 2008.

Three-dimensional imagery from Google Maps also confirms where the photo was taken. A brown L-shaped building can be seen in the background of the original image. The same building, identified in Google Maps as the Whale Island Boat Station, is also located in the Portsmouth Dockyard near the HMS Bristol. 

The Royal Navy website said the decommissioned destroyer is docked at that port after the Defence Equipment Sales Authority of the U.K. Ministry of Defence decided in 2021 to potentially sell it for scrap.

This means that the uploader of the video superimposed the Philippine flag on the British flag to make it seem as if the ship was docked in a Philippine port.

At the 0:30 mark, the video shows a clip of a ship sailing, supposedly the HMS Bristol, but which turns out to be another destroyer, HMS Gloucester.

A reverse image search reveals clearer versions of the clip used in the YouTube video. One clip appeared in the Shanghai-based site BiliBili titled “Royal Navy - Type 42 guided missile destroyer HMS Duke of York,” as translated in English. However, this is a misidentification.

The clip shows the pennant number of the destroyer—D96. A pennant number is a code used by the British Royal Navy to identify a ship and is composed of a letter denoting a ship's class followed by a number. 

Based on a list compiled by the Royal Navy Communications Branch Museum and Library, the destroyer shown in the clip was the HMS Gloucester, which was assigned a pennant number of D96. HMS Bristol, meanwhile, is assigned D23.

An archived webpage of the Royal Navy also shows a photo of the HMS Gloucester bearing D96 on its hull. The ship was decommissioned in 2011.

At the 0:36 mark of the video, a photo shows officers aboard a naval vessel and the display on the monitor blurred for unclear reasons. 

A reverse image search traces the photo to a Facebook post by The Philippine Fleet, a page affiliated with the Philippine Navy. It was taken during a unilateral exercise among the different units of the Philippine Fleet at the vicinity of Capones Island, San Antonio, Zambales in October.

A photo which appeared at the 6:00 mark is also part of the same Facebook post of The Philippine Fleet and is unrelated to the topic of the video.

The video also used a photo at the 2:16 mark showing Marcos and Navy chief Toribio Adaci Jr., which has nothing to do with the supposed assistance extended by the British Royal Navy. 

A reverse image search reveals that the photo was used in a Palawan News article about Marcos’ attendance at the Philippine Navy’s 125th anniversary celebration at its headquarters along Roxas Boulevard, Manila in May.

Another misleading image, which appeared at the 6:48 mark, shows Marcos signing a book with Beaufils, First Lady Liza Marcos and his son Simon Marcos watching him and a framed photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II and the British flag in the background.

The photo was posted in September 2022 in Beaufils’ Twitter page, and Marcos was signing a condolence book following the British monarch’s death. 

While there is no recent assistance or aid provided by the Royal Navy or HMS Bristol to the Philippines, the Philippine Navy and the U.K. government in November discussed improved maritime cooperations with focus on hydrography, a branch of science that measures and describes the physical features of the navigable portion of the Earth's surface and adjoining coastal areas.

As of writing, the YouTube video has more than 27,000 views, 400 likes and 50 comments. The YouTube channel, which has more than 25,000 subscribers, had previously been fact-checked by Rappler for another video claiming the Philippine Navy purchased the U.K. Warship HMS Queen Elizabeth. (AV)


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