Senate willing to help lead AFP aircraft modernization: Zubiri

Senate willing to help lead AFP aircraft modernization: Zubiri

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri

MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to raise the issue around the recent series of accidents involving old military aircraft, resulting in numerous deaths and casualties.

This speech came at the heels of a 16 January 2021 helicopter crash in Impasugong, Bukidnon. A Philippine Air Force Huey helicopter nosedived onto a field, killing all seven passengers and crew. Smoke was reportedly seen coming from its engine before the accident.

Zubiri cited similar incidents from the past year, identifying accidents involving another Huey last November, an Air Force Sikorsky air ambulance last September, and yet another Huey last July. Collectively, these accidents resulted in nine deaths, plus more injured.

“What happened in Bukidnon recently, and all the other military aircraft crashes which resulted in deaths of our military and civilian personnel, were senseless deaths,” Zubiri said. “Avoidable accidents, if only we were serious about modernizing our military.”

He pointed out that the Huey helicopter is old, and no longer fit to serve the military: “Huey helicopters are in the range of 40- to 50-year-old air assets . . . we need to modernize our military hardware and equipment, including our aircraft.”

“The Senate is prepared to listen to our military for what they need—what comfortable level of budget they need for 2022 and in the succeeding years to sustain their efforts in modernizing our military.”

“Modernizing our military is giving our soldiers, who are among the best and bravest in the world, a fighting chance in the battlefield. It is the least we can do to our men and women in uniform who have sworn to protect the state and lay down their lives for it if necessary, and as proven in their many heroic feats,” Zubiri said. (AI/MTVN/PNA)

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