PAF’s FA-50 fighter planessend off PBBM’s flight to US

Two Philippine Air Force (PAF) fighter planes escorted the presidential flight bearing the Commander-in-Chief as the aircraft left the country’s airspace on its way to the United States on Sunday.

This is the first time in years that the PAF, which is undergoing capability upgrade, has provided air escort to a departing Philippine President on an official trip abroad.

Air Force spokesman Col. Maria Consuelo Castillo said two South Korean acquired FA-50 fighter jets escorted President Ferdinand  “Bongbong” R. Marcos  Jr.’s flight as it left the country on September 18, 2022.

Marcos is currently in the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Castillo said the fighter jets escorted the presidential flight in the country’s eastern front starting over Polilio Island all the way up to 200 nautical miles.

“Fighter escorting, more than just a tradition, is an essential standard operating procedure to clear and secure our air space for the arrival and departure of the President of the Republic and other visiting heads of state,” Castillo said.

“The said procedure is similarly practiced in other countries for added security of their presidential flights,” she added.

After escorting the presidential flight, which lasted for a few minutes, the two FA-50s went on for regular maritime patrol.

Castillo said Air Force jets would meet and escort the presidential flight as it returns and enters the country in two days. 

Meanwhile, the military expressed its gratitude to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for its continued support to its modernization program.

From 2017 up to 2022 alone, the BCDA, whose chairman is now former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, has contributed P25.01 billion to the military modernization program.