Chinese military aircraft lands in Davao City?

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is verifying reports that a Chinese military aircraft landed at the Davao City International Airport last week.

“We would have to check with the Intelligence and Security Unit of the Department, which is in charge of issuing diplomatic clearances for all foreign military aircraft entering Philippine airspace,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato told The STAR yesterday.

“But if that IL-76 was indeed at the Davao International Airport (on Friday), it had the necessary permission to be there,” he added.

Photos of the military transport plane, identified as an IL-76, circulated on social media yesterday.

The photos were attributed to the Philippine Plane Spotters Group, which claimed that the aircraft seen at Davao airport belongs to the China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

The IL-76 is designed to conduct tactical and strategic airlift missions, transport of troops and evacuation.

Information coming from Davao said the Chinese cargo plane was in the city’s airport only for a brief refueling stop on her way back to China from Australia.

The military, however, was apparently kept out of the loop on the reported landing of the Chinese military plane.

“Where did you get that report? I don’t know that,” a senior military official said in response to the query over the Chinese plane.

The two other officers, one of them a senior Air Force officer, did not bother to reply.

Meanwhile, three Russian warships dropped anchor at Manila’s South Harbor for a five-day goodwill visit.

The Russian Navy’s Admiral Tributs, Admiral Vingoradov and large sea tanker Penchenga docked at the South Harbor for routine exercises, the Philippine Navy said.

“This is the first visit of the Russian Navy this year and the sixth since 2012. Also, this is not the first time that these vessels visited the country. Admiral Tributs visited in January last year while Admiral Vinogradov in October and Pechenga, sometime in April, also last year,” Navy spokesman Capt. Lued Lincuna said.

Lincuna said the Navy has lined up a series of confidence-building activities for their visiting Russian counterparts, including a boodle fight. 

He added the visit will be capped with the customary Passing Exercises (PASSEX) at the mouth of Manila Bay when the Russian warships sail out.

A number of foreign warships have made port calls since last year. These warships include those from the US Navy, the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, Royal Australian Navy, Vietnamese Navy, among others.  – With Jaime Laude


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