PH Air Force gets new surveillance planes from U.S.

"For this kind of surveillance plane, it's the most modern that we have. Wala naman tayo kasi (We don't have any to begin with)," said Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the sidelines of the official turnover of the two aircraft at the Villamor Air Base.

DEFENSE PARTNERS. US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and AFP chief General Eduardo Au00f1o at the turnover ceremony.

DEFENSE PARTNERS. US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and AFP chief General Eduardo Au00f1o at the turnover ceremony.

The two, said Lorenzana, will be "used anywhere in the Philippines," including the West Philippine Sea, which China claims as its own.

"They will be going there once in a while to cover our areas [in the] West Philippine Sea," said the defense chief.

The turnover of the aircraft comes days after President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out against critics of his drug war – including former US president Barack Obama – during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Duterte wants to forge an "independent" foreign policy, working to improve ties with China and Russia while moving away from the US, a longtime ally. (READ: Duterte foreign policy: Independent but isolated)

The Cessna planes won't be the last acquisition from the Americans.

Lorenzana said the US is "giving" ScanEagles and Ravens, unmanned aerial vehicles, to the Philippine Air Force. – Rappler.com