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ON TARGET

24 jet fighters or 120 helicopters?

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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.


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




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