LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines ? The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will soon get 18 light planes and eight helicopters as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program, said Major General Artemio Orozco, PAF 1st Air Division commander.
During a press conference here on Wednesday, Orozco said the command expects four of the 18 planes and eight helicopters to be delivered any time this year and the rest by next year.
The multipurpose helicopters can be mobilized in disaster and military operations.
Orozco said the proper aircraft procurement procedure had been carried out, the project bidding had been conducted and the command is just waiting for the deliveries.
He said the brand new light training planes and multipurpose helicopters would replace the old ones declared no longer functional by the command.
He said the PAF, as a standard practice, regularly identifies all assets that need repairs and replacements.
This would ensure that the assets would be properly maintained, he said.
?We see to it that our air assets are kept in good condition so these aircraft maintain their airworthiness and reliability,? he claimed.
Despite the sheer lack of air assets, the PAF is addressing this problem, though it would take some time, he added.
Aside from the acquisition of air assets, Orozco said the PAF has created an Air Education Training Command aimed at sustaining and upgrading its training on asset maintenance and pilot capability-building.
Orozco was here on Wednesday as guest of honor during the opening and blessing of the TOG5 (tactical operation group) taxiway, ramp and the Balay na Azul building for office and visitors? quarters.
Air Force Col. Guillermo Molina, TOG5 commander, said the three projects, costing P40 million, would spur the command?s operation in the region.
Molina said the fund spent for the three infrastructure projects came from the National Disaster Coordinating Council through the Office of Civil Defense in Bicol.
He said the construction of the aircraft taxiway and ramp would enable air assets to maneuver with ease in times of disaster or military operations.
The Balay na Azul is a two-story edifice, which contains an office cum conference hall and three rooms for guests.
Molina presented to Orozco the newly trained 12-member TOG5 Search and Rescue team, who were trained in various aspects of search, retrieval and rescue operations.