New PAF fighter jets to grace Edsa celebration
The Philippine Air Force’s new fighter jets will take part in a military fly-by over the site of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Edsa People Power Revolution on Thursday.
Two FA-50 fighter jets acquired recently from South Korea will join at least 26 other aircraft in an aerial display over the People Power Monument on Edsa in Quezon City.
“Our two FA-50 lead-in fighters will perform high-speed opener passes,” Col. Enrico Canaya, spokesperson for the PAF, said Monday.
The two new jets were seen flying over Camp Aguinaldo at least four times Monday afternoon, zooming low enough to be seen by those on the ground.
The jets were delivered in November last year as part of a 12-aircraft deal with Korea Aerospace Industries worth P18.9 billion.
The rest of the jets are expected to be delivered next year.
On Friday, the two FA-50s were used to escort the Philippine Airlines plane bringing President Aquino home from the United States as it entered the country’s airspace.
Mr. Aquino had come from a summit between US President Barack Obama and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in California.
The other aircraft that will perform the fly-by are 15 SF-260 light military trainer jets, three Bell-412 utility helicopters, three Bell UH-1D military utility helicopters, or Hueys, and three AgustaWestland AW-109 attack helicopters.
Canaya said two UH-1H helicopters would also drop flowers during Thursday’s celebration.
The aircraft, including the FA-50s, will rehearse their performance until Wednesday.
“Usually flower drops are only conducted during the celebrations. We are just providing what the organizers requested,” Canaya said.
A traditional reenactment of the “salubungan” will be held at the People Power Monument on Edsa and White Plains Avenue on Thursday morning, with President Aquino as the guest of honor.
The police and the military are in charge of the security arrangements for the anniversary, which will be Mr. Aquino’s last as President. His term ends in June.
Col. Vic Tomas, deputy chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Joint Task Force National Capital Region, said the military was working with the National Capital Region Police Office to ensure security during the celebration.
So far, no threats have been monitored by the security sector, he said.
“There’s a security plan already, I think what is being finalized are the contingency measures,” Tomas said.
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