Armed Forces of the Philippines

Sulu crash leaves AFP without C-130s – for now

Jairo Bolledo

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Sulu crash leaves AFP without C-130s – for now

JULY 4 TRAGEDY. View of the site after a Philippines Air Force Lockheed C-130 plane carrying troops crashed on landing in Patikul, Sulu, on July 4, 2021.

Armed Forces of the Philippines via Reuters

(1st UPDATE) This would affect operations because the C-130 is the most reliable transport plane of the military

The recent aircraft accident in Sulu, which killed at least 52 individuals, left the military with no C-130 plane to use for its operations.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said the military temporarily prohibited its remaining C-130 planes from flying, following standard protocol.

“The standard operating procedure every time that an accident happens among our aircraft, the standing operating procedure is to ground the fleet of that aircraft until the investigation that has been conducted is concluded,” Arevalo said in a press conference on Monday, July 5.

“So in this case, we have another C-130 that is flying that will be grounded,” the AFP spokesperson added.

Sulu crash leaves AFP without C-130s – for now

On Sunday, July 4, the C-130 Hercules plane crashed in Patikul town and killed at least 52 people, including 49 military personnel.

According to Arevalo, the military has five C-130 planes in total, including the one that crashed. Another C-130, which is in flying condition, will be grounded. Two others are currently under maintenance in Portugal. The fifth plane – recently purchased – has yet to arrive.

The AFP also previously grounded its Black Hawk choppers after the Black Hawk chopper crash in Tarlac on June 23, which killed six people. Nine other units of Black Hawk chopper were temporarily barred from flying.

Disaster response

The grounding of the C-130 came amid the restiveness of Taal Volcano. The military gave assurances that there will be other aircraft that can be used for disaster response.

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“It may be able to affect us but again, contingency measures are there. We have navy ships, navy aircraft to help and assist in the delivery of these basic goods and services,” Arevalo said.

The C-130 planes were purchased by the defense department to enhance the country’s capability in heavy airlift missions. It was meant to enhance the military’s movements during territorial defense efforts and disaster response operations. –

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.