By Rodolfo Andal
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday highlighted the importance of investing in strategies and technologies in order to allow government forces to perform their duties effectively.
Speaking during the founding anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Duterte congratulated the air arm of the Armed Forces as it celebrates 71 years of service, sacrifice, and commitment to safeguarding the citizenry and defending the Philippines’ sovereignty.
“I also take this opportunity to recognize your contributions and accomplishments in air operations for territorial defense, counter-terrorism and internal security, international defense and security engagement as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster operations among others,” he said.
In his speech, the Chief Executive stated that he is proud to have witnessed the collaborative efforts of the Armed Forces in successfully reclaiming Marawi from the terrorist groups. He recognized PAF’s invaluable assistance that has been fundamental not only in liberating the Islamic city but also in bringing order and stability to Mindanao and the rest of the country.
The President noted that the Philippines will continue to face challenges as the country realizes its shared vision of a stronger and safer Philippines. He said PAF completed this year the acquisition of air defense surveillance radars, utility aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles to complement existing air assets.
In addition, Duterte revealed, the government is also expecting the delivery of additional equipment and machinery in the following year.
“In order to further develop a modern, adequately equipped border security force, the government is currently working on the implementation of the Second Horizon of the Revised AFP Modernization Program by 2022 with 16 projects for the Philippine Air Force worth over PhP139 billion already in the pipeline,” he said.
As the government intensifies its fight against the current challenges of terrorism and external security, President Duterte called on PAF to remain vigilant, noting that “your chain of command does not end with me.”
The President, meanwhile, affirmed that he and the Filipino people will never forget the gallant men and women “who went beyond the call of duty selflessly, and fought for the freedom we enjoy today.”
“Be assured that we will remain steadfast in supporting the Philippine Air Force as we implement the necessary reforms that will enable you to become effective agents of genuine and lasting peace,” he said.