Posts claiming hundreds of US Javelin missiles were delivered to the Philippines are not true. The photo used as evidence is actually from a separate, legitimate delivery to Ukraine in February 2022, and has been tampered with to fit the deceptive narrative. (AFP)

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has launched a new program to combat the proliferation of fake news and misinformation regarding the West Philippine Sea with the introduction of the “Mulat” Communication Plan.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. said “Mulat,” which means “awakened,” aims to “bolster transparency, counter disinformation, and enhance public awareness regarding the Philippines’ rights and interests in the region.”

“By enhancing public awareness and rallying patriotic sentiment, the plan aims to unite Filipinos in advocating for the nation’s interests and contributing to a more resilient Philippines,” he said in a press conference at Camp Aguinaldo during the launch of Mulat.

The new campaign is centered on the AFP’s new theme for WPS – “Our Seas, Our Rights, Our Future” – which Brawner said reflects the AFP’s commitment to engaging all stakeholders in the effort to defend and preserve Philippine waters.

“Ipagtatanggol po natin ang ating karagatan, karapatan, at ang ating kinabukasan. Ang ginagawa natin ay hindi lang para sa kasalukuyan, but we are also doing this for the future generation of Filipinos,” Brawner explained.

The AFP leadership recently noted a spike in misinformation on social media, particularly after the incident in Ayungin Shoal where China Coast Guard and maritime militia troops blocked an AFP contingent conducting rotation and reprovisioning (RoRe) of troops aboard BRP Sierra Madre on June 17, resulting in a Philippine Navy personnel sustaining a serious injury, losing his right thumb.

Several posts on Facebook surfaced, sending wrong messages to the public that caused mixed reactions.

The AFP then called on the public to be aware and vigilant in guarding against the spread of misinformation to prevent its dissemination on social media and other platforms.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has observed an alarming surge in disinformation campaigns aimed at eroding the public’s trust in our institution and the government. These efforts seek to sow panic, divide our nation, and distract us from pressing issues that demand our collective attention,” Brawner said.

“Let us stand together in the face of these desperate attempts to spread discord. Our strength lies in our unity, and together, we can overcome any challenge,” he added.