CLARK, Pampanga — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday reminded the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to keep all assets “ready to go,” underscoring its mandate to be the country’s “first line of defense against external security threats.”
Marcos gave the statement after he inspected the PAF's three recommissioned C-130 units.
“Should any unfortunate events happen, we must be able to assess and to be able to respond quickly,” thepPresident said in his speech.
“I therefore direct the Philippine Air Force and the AFP to continue developing your capabilities for conducting maintenance and repair to keep all our military assets ready to go,” he said.
“Remain steadfast as you continue to perform your duties especially in the crucial role as the country’s first line of defense against external security threats,” he added.
Marcos underscored the need to “conduct routinary checkup and regular engineering services for added safety requirements and provide extensive training to those who will be flying and using” the PAF’s assets.
“We cannot afford to waste any time in the mission to save lives, therefore the existence of this air assets is crucial to ensure that information, aid, and responder are made available to effectively help affected areas,” he said.
“I would like to convey and remind everyone of the sheer importance and of air worthiness and structural integrity of our air assets to ensure their effectiveness and guarantee the safety of their users,” he added.
“Maintenance and repair are key aspects of our operations as well as important decision points in the acquisition of additional assets.”
The Philippines procured C-130 aircraft with tail numbers 5011 and 5040 in 2016 and sent them for “extensive repair and maintenance” last year, according to information from the PAF.
The two units, worth $55.60 million, were acquired from the United States under the Excess Defense Articles program, it read.
While Marcos did not directly mention the South Chine Sea issue in his speech, he said he is “certain” the Philippines’ “partners will be more than willing to aid us in developing your capabilities in making the necessary investments to ensure that we achieve our shared goals for the country and for this region.”
“I recognize the Philippine Air Force as well as express my appreciation to our partners in the US government and Portugal for making all these possible,” he said.
“It is a testament not only to our enduring friendship but also of your support to the Philippines’ agenda of enhancing our country’s air transport defense and disaster response capabilities,” he added.
In February, Marcos ordered Air Force personnel in Cebu to protect the Philippines’ interests in the South China Sea as the country is confronted by a “more complex foreign situation.”
The PAF, meanwhile, awarded an honorary Gold Wing badge to Marcos.
The PAF Gold Wing is a 10-karat golden badge symbolizing the highest state of military flying professionalism and dedication.
FROM THE ARCHIVE