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Air Force vows to protect country’s borders

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President Benigno S. Aquino III addresses the 66th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Monday (July 01, 2013). This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Makabagong Lakas, Matatag na Bukas.PAF was founded on July 1, 1947- two years after the end of World War II. It traces its lineage to the Philippine Army Air Corp, which was established in 1941.  (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III addresses the 66th Anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City in Clark Air Base, Pampanga on Monday (July 01, 2013). This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Makabagong Lakas, Matatag na Bukas.PAF was founded on July 1, 1947- two years after the end of World War II. It traces its lineage to the Philippine Army Air Corp, which was established in 1941. (MNS photo)

CLARK AIR BASE  (Mabuhay) — The Philippine Air Force showcased its skills during its 66th anniversary program with its aircraft staging a high-speed opener pass and a fly-by.

Air Force commanding general Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz renewed the PAF’s mandate to assist in humanitarian and disaster response and protecting the country’s borders.

“Kami po ay di matitinag sa aming patuloy na pagmamatyag para masiguro na ang mga likas na yaman at pag-aari ng ating bansa ay mapangalagaan at maipagtanggol kung kinakailangan. At sa pagdating ng ating mga bagong kagamitan ay lalo naming matagumpay na magagawa ang pagmamatyag na ito,” dela Cruz said in his speech.

Dela Cruz also took pride in the PAF’s ability to rehabilitate and put back into commission seven of its aircrafts, including one C-130 Hercules, two N-22 Nomads, one F-27 Fokker, one Cessna 210, one attack helicopter, and one UH-1H.

President Aquino praised the PAF for this initiative, reiterating his administration’s commitment to modernize the military.

“Mantakin po niyo: sa unang 19 na buwan ng ating termino, halos pantayan ng mahigit 28 bilyong pisong inilaan natin para sa AFP Modernization Program, ang 33 bilyong pisong pondo ng programa sa nakalipas na tatlong administrasyon. At dahil sa pagsasabatas ng New AFP Modernization Act, 75 bilyong pisong pondo ang mailalaan natin sa Tanggulang Pambansa sa susunod na limang taon,” Aquino said.

“Asahan po ninyo bago tayo bumaba sa pwesto, tumatanod na sa ating himpapawid ang mga makabago’t modernong kagamitan gaya ng lead-in fighters, long-range patrol aircraft, close air support aircraft, light-lift fixed-wing aircraft, medium-lift aircraft, attack helicopters, combat utility helicopters, air defense radars, at flight simulators.”

Aquino said that the current face of the Air Force is a far cry from the past, adding that it can be relied on to defend the country.

“Wala pong duda: unti-unti na tayong pumapasok sa panibagong yugto sa kasaysayan ng Philippine Air Force. Ang dating pambabalewala sa inyong kapakanan, pinapalitan natin ngayon ng pagtugon sa inyong pangangailangan—mula man sa mga modernong eroplano, hanggang sa mga benepisyo’t maayos na pabahay. Ngayong pinapalakas natin ang kakayahan ng ating Hukbong Himpapawid, walang ibang inaasahan ang taumbayan kundi ang buong katapatan ninyong gampanan ang inyong tungkulin. Sa susunod na lumipad kayo, tanawin ninyo ang libu-libong islang bumubuo sa ating bansa. Isipin ninyo kung ilang Pilipino ang nakatingala, pinagmamasdan ang pagbagwis ninyo sa langit, at buong-pagmamalaki nilang nasasambit na ‘Salamat at nariyan ang Philippine Air Force. Walang maaaring sumindak o manggipit sa akin. Ligtas ako.'” (MNS)

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