MANILA — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will showcase some of its modern aircraft on Independence Day in what it says is also a form of asserting the nation's sovereignty.
Two FA-50 fighter jets will make a high-speed opener pass to kick off the 124th Independence Day ceremony at the Rizal Park in Manila on Sunday, according to PAF spokesman Col. Maynard Mariano.
Towards the end of the program, more aircrafts will be doing flybys, among them an A-29 Super Tucano close-air support aircraft, S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopters, and T-129 attack helicopters.
The showcase seeks to send a message to "the Filipino people that we are free and we can dominate our airspace without contest,” said Mariano.
“This is an indication that we are indeed a sovereign nation,” he added.
Sunday's event commemorates the Philippines' independence from Spanish rule, although it subsequently became a US colony for several decades or until 1946.
The country for the past several years has been locked in maritime disputes with China over features in the South China Sea. Beijing's claims in the waters have been invalidated by an international arbitration court.
The PAF aircraft that will participate in the event were acquired under the ongoing modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Sunday's showcase follows a similar flyby event in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of such activity during the past two years.
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