Tag Archive: Jeffrey Delgado

An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

An FA-50 fighter jet. (photo grabbed from KAI website http://www.koreaaero.com/)

The Armed Forces’ Central Command in Cebu has started building facilities to host fighter jets and other aircraft which the Air Force will use for territorial defense, military officials said.

Lieutenant General Jeffrey Delgado, Air Force chief, said the Central Command, particularly the 2nd Air Division, was chosen to host new aircraft because of its “strategic location,” which allows it to quickly send planes to Luzon in the north, Mindanao in the south, or Palawan in the west.

“We intend to put up more hangars here for our fighter aircraft and our transport aircraft and helicopters,” Delgado said in an interview by state-run television PTV-4.

Lieutenant General Nicanor Vivar, Centcom chief, said construction of hangars at the 2nd Air Division started about three months ago.

Construction projects presently being carried out fall under the AFP Modernization’s “First Horizon,” which has a total cost of P90 billion, Vivar said.

“A lot of development will be done here soon,” including docks for Navy ships, he said.

The Department of National Defense earlier announced that it allocated P135.99 million for base support systems of fighter jets, particularly the South Korean-made FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets.

Aircraft maker Korea Aerospace industries said earlier this week that it aims to deliver the first two of 12 FA-50s ordered by the Philippines by yearend.

Colonel Enrico Canaya, Air Force spokesman, said that aside from the two fighter jets, the PAF expects to recieve 20 other aircraft from suppliers this year.

These include two C-295 medium lift planes, eight combat-utility helicopters, eight AW-109 attack helicopters, and two CN-212i light lift planes, Canaya told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Friday.

Developments at the Central Command come as the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), where the 2nd Air Division is “co-located,” embarks on a project to upgrade facilities, including its runway.

Vivar said that aside from becoming a hub for modern military aircraft, Central Command is also being eyed as the home of the AFP’s “strategic command.”

“External defense, nandiyan na tayo… this will be the home of the strategic command, hopefully, and that will cater to the territorial defense of the country,” he said. (John Roson)

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A satellite image of Pag-Asa Island with the Rancudo Air Field. (Google Earth image)

A satellite image of Pag-Asa Island with the Rancudo Air Field. (Google Earth image)

The Philippines is set to start a project aimed at repairing its airstrip in the Kalayaan (Spratly) Island Group soon, despite China’s objections, military officials said Wednesday.

Funds are now available to repair eroded portions of the Rancudo Airfield on Pag-Asa (Thitu) Island, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado said.

“Nagkaroon lang ng mga hitches during the previous years, may time na kinulang ‘yung funds, but now may pondo na naman, we need to repair that,” Delgado said in a press briefing.

Portions of the 1.4-kilometer airstrip, which was built way back in the 1970s, have been “eroded by seawater,” Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said.

Last December, the Department of National Defense showed reporters a presentation saying that P479.750 million had been alloted for the project on Pag-Asa under the Armed Forces Modernization Law of 1995, and the project was already undergoing bidding.

Maj. Gen. Edgar Fallorina, Air Force chief of staff, said a company has already won the bid for the project’s first stage, which will be overseen by the Navy and would involve “dredging.”

“That’s for the preparation alone [of] the island, so that construction materials can come in… Hopefully, it will be finished this year,” he said.

The Air Force will implement second stage, which is the repair of the airstrip itself, he said.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying accused the Philippines of “illegally and forcefully” occupying territories in the Kalayaan Islands, which China calls Nansha.

Hua also demanded that the Philippines withdraw its facilities and personnel from the islands, as well as stop “provocations” like the airstrip project, despite Beijing’s continuing constructions.

Fallorina said the project will push through as the government had already given it the green light.

“It’s a project under and sanctioned by the Department of National Defense. So far it’s a go, no complaints, no problems,” he said. (John Roson)

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As much as 12 Chinese ships have been monitored in the West Philippine (South China) Sea as China continues to strengthen its presence in the area, military officials said Wednesday.

There have been times that 10 to 12 ships were monitored, though sometimes there are only three or four, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado said in a press briefing.

“The number changes from time to time, probably it depends on the level of activities that they are pursuing,” he said.

Major General Edgar Fallorina, Air Force chief of staff, said it was hard to determine how many activities the Chinese are conducting, but was clear that these have intensified.

“If they are just having their structures before, right now they are trying to improve those structures,” he said.

Last month, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said China was monitored to have been conducting reclamation activities, apparently to build a “base,” in Mabini (Johnson South) Reef.

Similar activities have also been monitored in Calderon (Cuarteron) and Gaven Reefs, according to the government.

“Right now they are doing some dredging so by that observation alone you’ll probably come up with your own conclusion what they intend to do. In short, they are trying to improve their presence,” Fallorina said.

Colonel Florante Falsis, deputy assistant chief of air staff for intelligence, said they are now monitoring other areas for Chinese construction activities.

Monitoring is now “concentrated” at Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) and Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, he said. (John Roson)

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