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Japan turns over P2.5-billion aid to Philippine Air Force

Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star
Japan turns over P2.5-billion aid to Philippine Air Force
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other military officials led by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez received the equipment from Toshihiko Fuji, Japan’s assistant commissioner for Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) at the Air Force Haribon Hangar here in Mabalacat, Pampanga.
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CLARK FIELD, Pampanga, Philippines  —  The Japanese government, in line with its regional peace and security efforts with allies, officially turned over yesterday its excess spare parts for military helicopters and maintenance equipment worth P2.5 billion to the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and other military officials led by PAF chief Lt. Gen. Rozzano Briguez received the equipment from Toshihiko Fuji, Japan’s assistant commissioner for Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ATLA) at the Air Force Haribon Hangar here in Mabalacat, Pampanga.

“This is donated by Japanese government as they are manufacturing these spare parts under license by the United States. They (Japanese) thought it wise to give the spare parts because we have lots of grounded non-flying Hueys,” Lorenzana said.

Aside from the helicopter parts, Lorenzana said the defense department is also eyeing to procure other key defense items from Japan, including radars and planes.

“They’re not in the pipeline yet. But we want to acquire more from them but we are discussing this with my counterpart,” Lorenzana said.

For now, he said the defense department is planning to acquire four to five defense radars from Japan.

While the PAF has been continuously modernizing it airlift capabilities, it remains heavily dependent on the Vietnam-vintage Huey UH 1H utility helicopters for combat support requirements needed by government ground forces.

Briguez, in welcoming Japan’s donations, said the initial Huey spare parts delivery will result in the rehabilitation of two helicopters that have been grounded due to lack of spare parts.

“Throughout the years, Japan and the Philippines have been committed to strengthening its relationship with various activities that will propel both national agenda towards development,” Briguez said.

The Philippines is the first country to receive donations of military equipment from Japan following the amendment of Tokyo’s pacifist constitution.

Fuji, meanwhile, said his country also stands to benefit out of these donated helicopter spare parts.

“Your benefit is our benefit. Of course we are hoping joint interests of the Philippines and Japan is to secure prosperity, peace and stability of the region. From that aspect, this might be a small step but still, important,” Fuji said.

He added: “We are hoping the continuation and accumulation of cooperation of our two countries can eventually be a big player/contributor to the stabilization and peace in the region.” 

DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENSE

PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE

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