Jet for senior officials 'a necessity in times of crisis,' Palace says

( - October 8, 2019 - 3:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — The multimillion-dollar business jet that the government has procured from the United States will be used as an airborne command post, Malacañang said Monday.

Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong earlier confirmed that the Philippine Air Force will be acquiring two aircraft – an Airbus C295 and a Gulfstream G280.

The G280 "will primarily serve as platform to carry our senior leaders and commanders in the event of, for example, crisis situation.

"It is similar to an airborne command post. It has a capability better than the ordinary (jet)... It requires a short runway," Panelo said in a press briefing Monday.

Bayan Muna secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr., however, pointed out that the government is spending millions of dollars for the comfort of officials while ordinary citizens carry the burden of the transport crisis.

The G280, which can seat eight to ten people, is worth $36.999 million.

Defending the request of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to purchase the jet, Panelo stressed that it will be used in times of crisis.

"Kung may 'in times of crisis' kailangan mo 'yun kaya nga crisis — when there is necessity. Kung necessity papaano naman magwawaldas ka?" Panelo said.

"If it's 'in times of crisis,' you will need it, that's why it's for a crisis— when there is necessity. If it is a necessity how can it be a waste?)

Panelo insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte is very frugal and does not spend unless necessary.

According to the DND, Lorenzana signed the P2-billion contract for the G280 last November It is expected to be delivered by August next year while the C295 is set to be delivered this year.

While the G280 is for Duterte and other senior government and military officials, the C295 is more suitable for maritime patrol missions as it has longer range. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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