SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
True to his word, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has endorsed the inclusion in the proposed 2022 national budget the purchase of three brand new C-130J planes by the Philippine Air Force (PAF).
Velasco made the endorsement after his meeting with PAF officials led by Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes in the House of Representatives last Monday.
The House is currently holding plenary deliberations on the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022.
“We fully support PAF’s modernization and priority projects for next year, particularly its plan to upgrade its fleet by buying brand new and modern aircrafts,” Velasco said.
The Speaker also expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the PAF for keeping watch of the nation’s airspace, responding to disasters, and transporting medical equipment and supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will be recalled that Velasco promised to include the purchase of more military aircrafts in the 2022 national budget after a PAF C-130 transport plane crashed in Sulu province last July 4, killing at least 45 people.
The aircraft, carrying troops bound for counter-insurgency operations, crashed with 96 people on board. It had attempted to land at Jolo airport, but overshot the runway and crashed at nearby Patikul town.
Following one of the country's deadliest military aviation accidents, Velasco vowed to help the PAF replace the lost C-130 plane and to support its efforts to upgrade and modernize its fleet.
“I can only give my word that we in the House of Representatives will include in the 2022 budget the modernization of the PAF’s fleet and ensure the proper training of personnel in handling modern equipment,” Velasco said.
The House chief also urged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct a thorough investigation on the incident with the end in view of preventing such disasters from happening again.
The Speaker likewise called for a review of PAF pilots’ protocols as well as an inquiry on the safety of runways around the country, especially in the provinces.
“We acknowledge the importance of our uniformed personnel, as our dear President Duterte himself has done so several times,” Velasco said. “The least we can do is to ensure that this never happens again.” #