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Bongbong Marcos eyes ‘stronger, bigger’ air force to defend PH

/ 07:21 PM July 01, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said his administration is eyeing having a “stronger, bigger, and more effective” Philippine Air Force (PAF) capable of defending the country’s sovereignty amid its territorial row with China.

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At the 75th founding anniversary of the PAF in Pampanga, Marcos said it is the “perfect time” to recognize the country’s “continued enhancement in air strength over the years.”

“The ongoing defense modernization effort is in coordination with the basic prerequisites that would complement this administration’s vision for a stronger, bigger and effective Air Force, capable of defending and maintaining our sovereign state and of assisting our people in times of dire consequences and today’s reality that this dictates,” Marcos said.

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Marcos said that a more modern aerial and surveillance capability is “all the more felt” given that the country is involved in territorial disputes.

The Philippines has filed a number of diplomatic protests against China, the most recent of which was due to the latter’s unilateral fishing ban covering portions of the West Philippine Sea, which undermined the livelihood of fishermen.

“This enhanced capability is also proven to be very critical in the Philippine military’s effort to protect the nation from local communist insurgents and extremist groups in the south,” he said.

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivers his inaugural speech at the National Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, June 30, 2022. Screengrab from RTVM / Facebook

The president also stressed how the PAF can help humanitarian efforts, particularly in calamities.

“As our country is defined by more than 7000 islands, several of which are located in active volcanic zones or are in the pathway of some of the strongest typhoons ever recorded in history, natural disasters are certainties we all expect now to happen,” Marcos said.

“Transport aircraft, helicopters, and the like are important facilities that only the Philippine Air Force can suitably and sufficiently provide especially during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations,” he added.

Marcos earlier said that he would uphold a 2016 decision by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that favored the Philippines in its diplomatic protest against China over the West Philippine Sea.

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“Our sovereignty is sacred and we will not compromise it in any way,” Marcos said in May.

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TAGS: Air Force modernization, China, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Philippine Air Force (PAF)
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