Latest Stories


24 jet fighters or 120 helicopters?


During the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Noy, he said his government was planning to buy 24 fighter jets that would compose a squadron for the country’s external defense.

Instead of fighter jets, why doesn’t the Aquino government buy attack and troop transport helicopters instead?

The government doesn’t need fighter jets, which are very expensive, costly to maintain and are fuel guzzlers.

They would just be parked in the hangars much of the time.

If those 24 jet fighters were sent to prevent the incursion of Chinese ships in our areas in the vicinity of the Spratlys and other islands also claimed by China, that country could send three or four times that number of jet fighters to engage our jets in a dogfight.

Let’s just wait for the time when we become a very rich nation—we’re on our way to becoming one—and then we can think of buying jet fighters for our Air Force.

What we need now are attack and transport helicopters to reinforce troops under attack from communist and Moro rebels, and pull out wounded government soldiers from the battlefields.

Most wounded soldiers in the field lose a lot of blood and die before rescuers can get to them.

The Air Force only has more than 20 Huey helicopters at present when we used to have more than 100 before.

The money for one jet fighter could buy five transport helicopters for government troops.

Twenty-four jet fighters equals 120 attack or transport helicopters.

The more helicopters our Air Force has, the better for our troops in the field.

If the Air Force had many attack and transport helicopters, there would be fewer casualties on the government side.

Our government should be practical and not be a show-off.

Being a show-off won’t win the battle against the enemies of the state.

*  *  *

Portions of Senators Lito Lapid and Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allegedly funded the purchase of garbage deodorizer in some Rizal towns, which were of no use to their residents.

I can’t speak for Lapid, but I can speak for Sotto who, I know, scrutinizes the money used from his PDAF.

Sotto denies reports that the local government of Tanay did not send a request for garbage deodorizer but that the senator’s office sent it to them.

“We have a copy of the LGU (local government unit) request contrary to reports. Besides, there was nothing irregular done by my office. After we submit to the Department of Budget and Management the approved requests, it’s out of our hands already. My office has never been cited by the Commission on Audit for any irregularity,” Sotto said in a text message to me.

*  *  *

If President Noy wants a lean and mean Bureau of Customs, he should abolish the customs enforcement division, originally called the customs police, because it’s useless.

Most of its members are very corrupt and have been the subject of many complaints from legitimate importers.

One of its officers was dismissed for unexplained wealth by the Office of the Ombudsman, which later reinstated him after he allegedly coughed up millions of pesos to an outgoing Ombudsman official.

The original mandate of the customs police was to secure government facilities and cargo within the customs zones and ports.

It has nothing to do with seizures of smuggled cargo.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Bureau of Customs , customs enforcement division , customs police , Helicopters , jet fighters , Lito Lapid , Military , Philippines , Pork barrel , pork scam , Vicente Sotto III

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  2. Gigi Reyes’ only option: tell all
  3. Unease in Vatican over cardinal’s luxury flat—report
  4. Santiago sees Palace hand in Gigi’s return
  5. Malaysia Airlines jet turns back after tire burst
  6. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  7. Aquino vows to intensify anti-corruption drive further
  8. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  9. Healing priest invites political leaders to join ‘prayer for nation’
  10. ‘Malang’ next crocodile attraction after ‘Lolong’
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  5. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • LPA enters PH, to bring rains and thunderstorms
  • Sing-along saint: Showbiz world gets papal inspiration
  • Two-thirds of underwater search done, no sign of MH370
  • S. Korea prosecutors turn to mobile app for ferry probe
  • 31 dead in Holy Week incidents—NDRRMC
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • Discovery network cancels Everest jump
  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Business

  • Oil prices down in quiet Asian trade
  • Asian shares mixed in holiday-thinned trade
  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Technology

  • PH has slowest internet in Southeast Asia
  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family
  • Marketplace