DAVAO CITY, July 4, 2017 — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) now has eight FA50 fighter jets, with President Rodrigo Duterte formally viewing the new aircraft during the 70th anniversary of the PAF.
Duterte said the PAF will be highly involved in future operations, with intense operations still being coordinated in Marawi City around 40 days after the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) stormed the besieged city last May 23.
“As we commemorate this milestone, let me also honor the brave men and women of the AFP and the PNP who are now facing the enemy in Marawi and in other parts of the country. Especially, Philippine Air Force plays a crucial role in preserving our national integrity and in the face of challenges from within and from without, from the outside, our borders. PAF’s intensified areas reconnaissance mission and the maritime patrols of the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise are testament to our dedication to protect our waters from external threats,” Duterte said.
“We have also topped up to augment our internal security operations by providing air support to our ground forces and assisting our law enforcement agencies in the surveillance and intelligence gathering operations. Proving its capability on the ground, the Philippine Air Force has joined almost 2,000 counter insurgency and law enforcement operations, five of which contributing to our ongoing war against illegal drugs and loose firearms.”
Duterte said the PAF will be among the frontliners in the Marawi operation.
“We have deployed more than 40 of our air assets and more than 400 Air Force officers and personnel; and several of which are involved in ground operations. As we wrap up in our campaign to liberate Marawi, I am confident that the Philippine Air Force will once again take an active role in the rebuilding of the City and uplifting the spirit of those affected by the conflict. We will rely on your valuable experience in humanitarian assistance and disaster response especially in surveying war-torn areas and air lifting relief goods and rescuing victims and people stranded,” he said.
“I assure you that we will build on our past gains to further strengthen the Philippine Air Force. We will continue the ongoing modernization program by procuring additional attack and combat utility vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs to compliment our already existing air assets.”
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