Kris' ex-security aide named new Air Force chief

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 25 2014 03:55 PM | Updated as of Apr 25 2014 11:55 PM

Major General Jeffrey Delgado, new Philippine Air Force chief

MANILA - A former close-in security of the late former President Corazon Aquino is now the commanding general of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

President Benigno Aquino III named Major General Jeffrey Delgado, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, as the 33rd commanding general of the PAF.

Delgado was President Aquino's senior military aide during the early years of his administration. He is described as a seasoned combat attack pilot and had been designated in various relevant and strategic positions in the military.

Delgado was once a member of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) during the term of Corazon Aquino, during which he served as a security aide to Kris Aquino.

Before his appointment as PAF chief, Delgado was the Armed Forces of the Philippines' deputy chief of staff for plans.

He holds a Masters degree in Development Management fom the Asian Institute of Management, Master's degree in Business Administration from the De La Salle University, and a Joint Transition Course from Virginia, United States, Command and General Staff Course.

He was also recently awarded as Cavalier Awardee for Staff Function during the PMA Alumni Homecoming.

In his speech during the turnover ceremony at Fernando Air Base in Lipa, Batangas, Aquino vouched for Delgado and said the latter is capable of leading the PAF.

''Ito nga pong si Major General Delgado ay naglingkod bilang kasapi ng ating Presidential Security Group, noon pang panahon ng aking ina. Tunay pong di-matatawaran ang kakayahan ni General Delgado. Ilang piloto lang po ang tulad niya na kayang magpalipad ng kombinasyon ng fixed at rotary wing aircraft,'' Aquino said.

''Kuwalipikado siyang piloto ng T-28D at MG520 na mga combat aircraft, ng T-41D at SF-260 na mga trainer aircraft, at naging co-pilot na rin siya ng BN Islander, na isang multi-engine passenger aircraft. Sa unang dalawang taon naman natin sa termino, nakasama natin si Major General Jeff bilang senior military aide.

Aquino also told Delgado that he expects more from Delgado as the new chief of the Air Force because he knows him personally.

''Kasama natin siya sa mga yugtong iyon nang ibinabangon natin ang bansa mula sa sangkaterbang problema na ating minana. Sa tagal nga po naming magkakilala, alam ko ang laman ng puso ni Jeff. Marangal siyang tao, tahimik at may dignidad na tumutupad sa tungkulin, at lagi nating matitiyak na uunahin niya ang interes ng bansa kaysa sarili."

PAF MODERNIZATION

Delgado replaces Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, who is credited for leading the PAF towards its aspiration for modernization and transformation.

In his speech, Delgado assured the public he will continue the programs started by his predecessor. He will also work on disaster preparedness.

Dela Cruz was awarded with a Philippine Legion of Honor with a degree of commander.

Aquino also paid tribute to Dela Cruz, whom he appointed based on track record alone as he did not personally know him.

''Mahigit dalawang taon na po ang nakakalipas nang maghanap tayo ng susunod na pinuno ng Philippine Air Force upang humalili sa noo’y magreretirong si Lieutenant General Oscar Rabena. At isa nga po sa mga kandidato rito ay si General Larry dela Cruz. Hindi ko man siya noon kakilala, nangibabaw po siya sa lahat ng kandidato. Kahanga-hanga ang ipinamalas niyang katangian sa serbisyo: patas siya sa lahat ng posisyong kanyang hinawakan; at sa kabila ng di-mabilang na parangal na kanyang natanggap, naging huwaran siya ng pagpapakumbaba,'' Aquino said.

''Iginagalang ang kanyang liderato dahil sa kanyang husay at kakayahan, gayundin sa pagmamalasakit sa kanyang nasasakupan. Malinaw naman po: Hindi tayo nagkamali sa pagpili kay Lieutenant General dela Cruz na pamunuan ang ating Hukbong Himpapawid. Mas matayog ang naging tagumpay, at mas lumakas ang puwersa ng ating Air Force mula nang siya ay manungkulan. Maigting niyang itinaguyod ang propesyunalismo sa Hukbong Himpapawid, at sinigurong nasasagad ang kakayahan at serbisyo ng inyo pong hanay."

Meanwhile, Aquino reiterated the's government plans to buy new aircraft and air force equipment.

''At ang good news nga po: Sa pag-arangkada ng ating modernisasyon, inaasahan nating mapapasaatin na simula sa susunod na taon ang mga bagong FA50 mula sa Korea. Gayundin, target po nating bumili ng walong combat utility helicopters; six close air support aircraft, two long-range patrol aircraft, at mga radar systems. Bukod rito, plano rin nating bumili ng full motion flight simulator upang mas mapaunlad pa ang kasanayan ng ating mga piloto,'' he said.

''Kasabay naman ng pagkakaloob sa inyo ng mga makabagong kagamitan,itinataguyod na rin natin ang maayos na pamumuhay ng inyong pamilya. Tuloy-tuloy ang ating programang pabahay, mga proyektong pangkabuhayan, at ang paglalatag ng mga stratehiya para matutukan ang kapakanan maging ng mga nagreretirong sundalo."

Aquino also paid tribute to the Air Force's contributions to the government response to the effects of various disasters, particularly during the onslaught of super typhoon ''Yolanda."