MANILA — Air power is significant to the Philippines' territorial defense, Philippine Air Force (PAF) commanding general Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreño said.
“Air power is a very important component of a joint force, especially sa territorial defense natin,” Parreño told reporters on the sidelines of a PAF event in Pasay City on Wednesday.
Defense Assistant Secretary for Logistics, Acquisitions, and Self-Reliant Defense Posture Joselito Ramos agreed that adding a stronger air power is likewise a vital component in addressing various kinds of threats.
“We’re not only talking about threats in the region, but also threats to the environment. We have a lot of disasters,” Ramos said.
“The PAF is supposed to be there when there are calamities, so the DND is fully supportive of the efforts and initiatives of the PAF.”
PAF held on Wednesday its annual Air Force Symposium with the theme: “Strengthening Relations through Collaboration and Interoperability while Adapting to Current Trends to Confront Emerging and Future Threats.”
The event involved the gathering of senior leaders, defense and military officials, members of the academe, defense industry partners, air power practitioners, and stakeholders.
“This is part of our pre-anniversary activities. This aims to update our PAF personnel and other stakeholders of the different perspectives of experts coming from the different agencies of government so that meron kaming comprehensive knowledge involving security landscape,” Parreño noted.
He then continued: “From there, we can base our plans and strategies so we could have very good inputs sa ating plans for the future.”
Presentations from defense industry partners were featured. Among them were Lockheed Martin, Israel Aerospace Industries, Korea Aerospace Industries, Airbus Defense and Space, Alpha Aviation Group, SAAB, Diehl Defense, and Servo Aerotrade Services.
There were also exhibits, which showcased the industry partners’ air assets and defense systems.
The daylong symposium also included presentations from distinguished speakers on various topics, including current and future regional threats, and enhanced cooperation in security and defense with Indo-Pacific countries.
Ramos, who was also the guest of speaker, delivered a message from Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.
In his message, Teodoro said the PAF must continue with its growth, considering current trends and evolving technologies, especially in unmanned aerial systems and space capabilities, also present both opportunities and challenges.
“By fostering innovation and cultivating partnerships with nations at the forefront of these constantly evolving technologies, we position ourselves as key players in the Indo-Pacific region as it bolsters our defense capabilities and maintains regional stability,” Ramos said.
“Moreover, the unique challenges faced by the Philippines as an archipelagic nation demand comprehensive approach,” he added.
The defense chief also emphasized that joint exercises are pivotal in enhancing the country’s maritime domain awareness, countering transnational crimes, and ensuring the safety and security of our territorial waters and skies.
“It is therefore a source of pride that our PAF has a rich history of cooperation with other air forces. Its recent initiatives, which include the trilateral air patrol with Indonesia and Malaysia, exemplify our commitment to addressing shared concerns over our area of maritime interest,” Ramos said.
He went on: “Meanwhile, the largest Balikatan exercise this year and the revival of Cope Thunder in our country after 33 years highlight the US and the Philippines’ commitment to enhancing interoperability and responsiveness through joint exercises. Hence, we must continue to nurture and expand our relations while actively seeking new avenues for cooperation.”
In closing, Teodoro vowed that the department will provide the PAF the necessary support that will empower it to fulfill its mission.