Marcos says PH’s air assets to help in maritime patrol, monitor EEZ
CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said the country’s air assets would help monitor developments within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and provide close air support to combat troops if needed.
Marcos issued the statement as he led the turnover and blessing ceremony of the new C-295 medium lift aircraft and witnessed the capability demonstration flight of the FA-50PH.
In his speech, he acknowledged how the Philippines’ archipelagic nature and location are both a “blessing and a challenge” since the country can access resources from its maritime environment but must “constantly adapt.”
Marcos added that the Philippines is also challenged by climate-related hazards that affect government and business operations. This, he said, calls the military to “do more.”
“To this end, our FA-50PH Fighter Jets shall improve our maritime patrol capability, aid our Air Force in monitoring the developments within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone, and provide close air support to our combat troops,” the President said.
“Through the additional C295 aircraft, the AFP will be able to provide more responsive support to government agencies, especially in emergency situations and on humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” he added.
The President said the aircraft would boost the Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) readiness to respond to any situation.
However, he acknowledged that there is still a need to improve further the country’s capabilities to cover its territory effectively.
Marcos also emphasized the importance of ensuring the airworthiness of Air Force assets and training the corresponding crew and personnel to guarantee the safety of all.
“Hence, it is this administration’s will to remain steadfast in pursuing our modernization efforts,” he said.
This new C-295 aircraft was procured from Spain and delivered to the country last February 14. It was the latest of three C-295 medium-lift aircraft acquired by the government. The two units were delivered last year.
With the addition of the three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, the PAF now possess a total of seven units of the tactical transport jet.
In September 2022, it was reported that more than half of the PAF’s 12 FA-50 light fighters were non-operational due to scheduled maintenance and delayed delivery of spare parts.