MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – The US formally turned over another C130 to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Monday, October 24.
“With this new addition to your C130 fleet, I know that the Philippine Air Force will be even more prepared to respond when called upon to deliver aid in case disaster strikes,” said US ambassador to the Philipines Philip Goldberg in his speech during the ceremony held at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
It is the 2nd of the two C130s bought by the previous Aquino administration after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) exposed the weakness in the military’s cargo and transport capability.
The first was turned over in April 2016. The PAF now has a total of 5 C130 planes.
Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza highlighted the role of C130 cargo planes in relief efforts to help the victims of last week’s typhoon Lawin.
“This event significantly symbolizes the Philippines’ relations with the United States. It has served as a steady anchor in our recognition of the interlocking linkage between peacekeeping and peace-building towards lasting peace, security and development, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but globally,” said Philippine Air Force chief Lieutenant General Edgar Fallorina.
The acquisition is part of the US Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. The Philippines paid $35 million (about P1.6 billion) for the two C130s. The actual cost is $55 million, but US Foreign Military Financing covered $20 million.
A C130 can lift about 100 troops or its equivalent weight, a critical asset in transporting immediate relief after disasters even to remote airfields.
The entire AFP, the Philippine National Police, and government agencies, especially the Department of Social Welfare and Development, rely on the Air Force in moving people and logistics to different parts of the archipelago.
The US State Department approved the request of the Philippines to purchase the cargo planes in August 2014.
“The sale of the two C-130s is part of the US government’s commitment to help the Philippines develop its territorial defense and maritime security capabilities, as well as enhance its ability to respond to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief emergencies, which routinely occur in the Philippines,” the US embassy had said. – Rappler.com