MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III led the celebration of the 67th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Pampanga, recognizing the professionalism and dedication to service of its uniformed men and women.
In his message during the event that was held in Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Tuesday, the President said the reforms and modernization initiatives in the Air Force have been made possible by the support of the PAF leadership.
At the same time, he praised the PAF for its role in the government’s response during such challenges as the Zamboanga siege and the devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda last year.
“Ito po mismo ang ipinagdiriwang natin ngayong anibersaryo ng Philippine Air Force: ang propesyunalismo, katapangan, at katatagang nagsilbi ninyong sandigan upang itaguyod ang ating pambansang dangal,” the President said in his message.
“Ito ang mga prinsipyong kinikilala natin sa bawat unit, piloto, at kawani na ating pinaparangalan ngayong umaga, at sa iba pang lingkod-bayang katuwang sa ating agenda ng reporma.”
The President extended his gratitude to the members of the Air Force, urging them to keep up the good work.
He said that as commander in chief, he is proud to become a leader of a nation that does what is right and is always ready for any challenge.
He reported that in the past four years, the PAF has been able to aggressively push its modernization program.
Currently, the PAF has three functioning C-130 cargo planes and has acquired 18 basic trainer aircrafts.
It has also acquired Sokol combat utility helicopters and 20 upgraded MD-520 MG helicopters, has received four UH-1 helicopters, and is awaiting the delivery of 17 more UH-1 helicopters this year.
The government also targets to buy eight combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, radar systems, and other equipment that will help the capabilities of PAF personnel, the President said.
Next year, he said, the PAF will receive the first two of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea that will help patrol the country’s air space.
The government eyes full delivery of the fighter jets from South Korea in 2017, he added. (MNS)