Marcos never told AFP to act vs other countries, Malacañang says

(File photo)
(File photo)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has never directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to act against any country, Malacañang said.

In a social media post-Tuesday evening, Malacañang warned the public about an "audio deepfake" circulating online portraying Marcos instructing the military to take action against a specific foreign nation.

A version of the video, still available on YouTube, features audio resembling the Philippine President directing the AFP and special task groups to respond as they see fit if China were to attack the Philippines.

The video includes a slideshow of photos depicting Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), including those released by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

Rappler has chosen not to provide a link or embed the video to help prevent its further dissemination online.

Deepfakes are typically made using machine learning and generative artificial intelligence techniques to fabricate media.

Several people worldwide, including politicians, businessmen, and celebrities, have fallen victim to deepfake videos and audio.

"It has come to the attention of the Presidential Communications Office that there is video content posted on a popular video streaming platform circulating online that has manipulated audio designed to sound like President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.," PCO, which handles Malacañang communications arms, said in a statement.

"The audio deepfake attempts to make it appear as if the President has directed our Armed Forces of the Philippines to act against a particular foreign country. No such directive exists nor has been made," the PCO added.

PCO also mentioned that it is coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the National Security Council (NSC), the National Cybersecurity Inter-Agency Committee, and the private sector, to tackle the spread and malicious manipulation of video and audio deepfakes, along with other generative AI content.

Additionally, it emphasized its Media and Information Literacy initiatives as part of its efforts to combat fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and misinformation.

The release of the fake audio coincides with the commencement of the 2024 Exercise Balikatan, an annual military exercise involving the Philippines and the United States.

This year, over 11,000 American soldiers, along with hundreds of Australian and French troops, will join over 5,000 Filipino soldiers in the exercises.

The West Philippine Sea has previously hosted several joint naval exercises, including three between the US and the Philippines, one involving the Philippines and Australia, and a multilateral sail with the participation of the Philippines, US, Japan, and Australia.

During the 2024 Exercise Balikatan, the Philippines, US, and France will conduct war games in the West Philippine Sea.

Following these activities, French and Philippine Navy ships will sail in the West Philippine Sea.

Daily Tribune