President Aquino leads Air Force change of command ceremony in Lipa City
(LIPA CITY, Batangas) President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday led the change of command ceremony of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), praising the leadership of its outgoing chief Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz.
In his message during the event held at the Fernando Air Base here, President Aquino said he made the right choice when he appointed Gen. dela Cruz to head the Air Force more than two years ago.
“Malinaw naman po. Hindi tayo nagkamali sa pagpili kay Lt. Gen. dela Cruz na pamunuan ang ating Hukbong Himpapawid. Mas matayog ang naging tagumpay, at mas lumakas ang puwersa ng ating Air Force mula nang siya ay manungkulan,” he said.
Dela Cruz spearheaded professionalism in the Air Force to ensure that the PAF served the people well, he said.
He recalled that during Gen. dela Cruz’s tenure, the single C-130 in the Air Force inventory was able to do its job, transporting equipment, weapons and personnel to different areas of the country.
When Typhoon Sendong hit the Visayas and Mindanao in 2011, this C-130 became the military’s workhorse in its relief operations, he added.
The Air Force also became a leading arm of the government in responding to the attack of Muslim rebels in Zamboanga City, as well as when a strong earthquake hit Cebu and Bohol, the President said.
He also said that the PAF made a major contribution in the government’s search and relief efforts in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayan region last year.
“Nang nangailangan ang ating mga kababayan, walang dalawang-isip na sumuong sa disaster area ang ating unipormadong hanay. Hindi po kalabisang sabihin na nadala kayo ng magandang halimbawa ng inyong mga pinuno. Sa hanay nga po ng Air Force, nariyan ang inyong pangkalahatang piloto na si Lt. Gen. dela Cruz na gumabay sa inyo sa matuwid na direksyon,” he said.
The President further noted that under the leadership of Gen. dela Cruz, the Air Force experienced a more aggressive modernization thrust.
The Air Force now has three C-130 cargo planes, eight Polish-made Sokol combat utility helicopters, and 18 basic trainer aircraft being used by student pilots, he said.
President Aquino also led the retirement ceremony for Gen. dela Cruz.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado is the new head of PAF. A seasoned combat pilot, Gen. Delgado is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1982.
Prior to his appointment as the 33rd PAF head, Gen. Delgado was the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans (J5).
He earned a Masters degree in Development Management from the Asian Institute of Management in 1999 and a Masters degree in Business Administration from De La Salle University in 1987. He also attended a Joint War Fighting, Joint Transition Course in Virginia, the US.
Among those present during the ceremony were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Rep. Mark Leandro Mendoza, Rep. Francisco Acedillo, Vice Governor Mark Leviste, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista. PND (as)
President Aquino says air force modernization will continue
(LIPA CITY, Batangas) The government will continue to modernize the military, especially the Philippine Air Force (PAF), with the appointment of its new head, President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Friday.
During the PAF’s change of command ceremony held at the Fernando Air Base here, the President said that incoming chief Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado will continue the reforms initiated by his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz.
Gen. Delgado is the 33rd PAF chief. He is a seasoned combat pilot, and a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1982.
“Kumpiyansa naman po tayong higit pang titibay at lalakas ang hanay ng ating mga kawal lalo pa’t may gobyerno na kayong tunay na kumakalinga sa inyo,” he said in his message.
After the PAF retired its fleet of F-5 freedom fighter aircraft, the President said he wanted to acquire modern jets to hone the skills of PAF pilots.
The good news, he said, is that starting next year, PAF will start to receive the delivery of 12 new FA50 jets from South Korea.
The government also aims to buy eight combat utility helicopters; six close air support aircraft, two long-range patrol aircraft, and radar systems to beef up the country’s military capability in the midst of regional threats.
Acquiring a full-motion flight simulator is also part of government plans, he said, noting that it will help enhance the skills of PAF pilots.
Under the leadership of Gen. dela Cruz, the PAF acquired C-130 cargo planes, eight Polish-made Sokol combat utility helicopters, and 18 basic trainer aircraft.
“Kasabay naman ng pagkakaloob sa inyo ng mga makabagong kagamitan, itinataguyod na rin natin ang maayos na pamumuhay ng inyong pamilya.
“Tuloy-tuloy ang ating programang pabahay, mga proyektong pangkabuhayan, at ang paglalatag ng mga stratehiya para matutukan ang kapakanan, maging ng mga nagreretirong sundalo,” he said. “Sa nakalipas na halos apat na taon, nakamit natin ang positibong bunga ng ating mabuting pamamahala.” PND (as)