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String of Crashes Show Air Force Needs New Fleet, Senator Says

DBM urged to find the budget.
by Erwin Colcol
2 hours ago
Photo/s: Senate PRIB

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday called for the modernization of the Philippine Air Force's fleet after one of its workhose C-130 planes figures in the deadliest crash of a military aircraft in 30 years.

Zubiri said he was saddened by the death of soldiers and civilians "because of poor equipment and outdated aircraft." An official investigation into the crash in the southern province of Sulu has yet to determine the cause.

In the last 12 months, Zubiri said more than 70 people were lost in military aircraft accidents. These include four in a crash in Isabela in July 2020, another four in Basilan in September, one in Lanao del Sur in November, seven in Bukidnon in January of this year, and six more in Tarlac last month.

"We really need to fast-track our aircraft modernization so we can stop ruining lives like this, and ensure that no other accident surpasses this one in the future," Zubiri said.

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"I am appealing to the Department of Budget and Management to find the budget necessary for the Air Force to replace their aging fleet, particularly their workhorses, which are their overused and extremely old C-130s," he added.

Zubiri earlier this year called for the AFP aircraft modernization after meeting with Deputy Chief Florante Amano and other officials from the Air Force following the Bukidnon crash.

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"Modernization entails not only buying the best aircraft and equipment, but also providing state-of-the-art and extensive training for our military personnel," he said.

"We have to invest in simulators, so we can consistently train our soldiers without risking their lives, or the lives of civilians," he added.

Some senators have already called for a thorough investigation into the C-130 plane crash in Sulu as they offered their condolences to the families of those who perished from the incident.

Zubiri said the Senate is ready to listen and help the military with their budget to ensure that the incident in Sulu will be the last of its kind.

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